MediaRadar's 2016 Consumer Advertising Report, analyzing ad spend, formats, and ad buying patterns among marketers, found that programmatic ad buying declined 12% in Q1 of 2017 vs. Q1 2016.
According to the ad sales intelligence platform’s data, 45,008 advertisers purchased ads programmatically in Q1 2016, while in Q1 2017, the number of programmatic advertisers dropped 12% year-over-year, down to 39,415.
“For many years, the transition of dollars from direct ad buying to programmatic seemed inevitable, and impossible to roll back. But the near-constant drumbeat of concern over brand safety and fraud in the first six months of 2017 has slowed the tide. There is more buying of direct advertising, especially sponsored editorial, and programmatically, there is a ‘flight to quality.’ Investment is moving actively into private marketplace programmatic,” Todd Krizelman, MediaRadar’s CEO and co-founder, shared with Digital Daily News via email.
In general, researchers have been bullish on programmatic ad buying projections despite ongoing woes over fraud, a lack of transparency on pricing, consolidation in the ad tech space, brand safety, measurement, and other concerns in the beleaguered digital ad sector. An eMarketer forecast estimated that nearly four of every five U.S. digital display dollars will transact programmatically this year, amounting to $32.56 billion.
The MediaRadar report identified the top programmatic advertisers by number of placements in 2016 as Ford, Reckitt Benckiser Group, Exponation, Toyota, Verizon, Comcast, Procter & Gamble, National Amusements, NSGV, and the United States of America.
Notably, Media Radar found the number of high-CPM ad formats increasing, especially in mobile and native (which tracked the biggest gains). The number of native ad buyers rose 74% from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017, representing the biggest growth in buyers for any ad format. In addition, demand for native has nearly tripled since January 2015, which logged fewer than 1,000 buyers (981). In January 2017, there were almost 3,000 (2,882).
“Advertisers will keep spending because native outperforms traditional ad units," Krizelman said. "Audiences look at native ads more frequently than non-native ads. Similarly, the click-through rate on mobile native is also four times higher than it is for non-native."
He added, "Overall, native is a knockout for publishers. It helps them win more ad dollars from brands.”
The top 10 categories in 2016 for native advertising were media and entertaining, professional services, financial and real estate, technology, wholesale, home, travel, apparel and accessories, food, and toiletries and cosmetics.
The top five native advertisers by ad placements in 2016 were Secco Squared, Answers Corp., NextAdvisor, Potential Investments, and JPMorgan Chase.
When it comes to video, Comcast, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Toyota, and Verizon ranked as the top five brands by number of video ad placement in 2016.
The top five brands in mobile by number of placements were Brown-Forman, Time Warner, Anheuser-Busch, Simplisafe, and Liberty Interactive.
For the report, MediaRadar analyzed data from 266,324 advertisers in 2016 (and through Q1 2017) and examined patterns in their buying of digital, native, mobile, video, email, and print advertising.