Problematic Programmatic: 2023 Was Slow, But Recovery Is On The Way, Study Says

Publishers are headed for a good year in programmatic advertising – at least those with tech stacks able to handle it, judging by 2024 Publishing Trends: Global Programmatic And Ad Revenue, a study by Assertive Yield. 

“In 2023, the programmatic ecosystem faced notable challenges, making it one of the slowest years on our records,” the study states.

Despite that, “2024 heralds positive prospects, with the U.S. presidential election, the Olympic Games, and hopes for positive times on the market, the year is poised to revitalize the advertising market,” writes Nils Lind, founder and CEO of Assertive Yield. 

The key trends now affecting publishers who offer programmatic include Google Chrome’s cookie phase-out and a push for sustainable advertising. 

On the cookie front, “The impending deprecation of cookies by Chrome, starting with a 1% user reduction in Q1 2024, left uncertainties about alternative data sources,” the study notes.



But it adds, “Google’s Topics API, seen as a revamped version of the criticized FLoC, is being tested amidst opposition from Apple and Mozilla.”

Moreover, there has been an increasing emphasis on “harnessing first-party data in new, innovative ways, especially using lookalike modeling, while also refining partnerships for enhanced efficiency and improved personalization,” the report continues.

It continues, “Bloomberg exemplifies this shift, having severed ties with the programmatic open marketplace and content recommendation platform Taboola last April, moving towards an audience-first approach. Similarly, Salon, a news publisher, reported revenue growth after restricting access to its inventory for most resellers in the previous year, underscoring the effectiveness of these strategic shifts.”

Another tricky issue now facing publishers and programmatic is user IDs.

“For publishers with over 100,000 impressions on November 24th, 2023, a noteworthy observation emerged: 68.23% successfully had their ID passed through the auction, while 31.77% did not.” 

This serves as a reminder that “despite incorporating user IDs as a publisher, there exists a substantial likelihood that they may not consistently reach SSPs for various reasons.” 

So what should publishers do?

“The first thing I would do is I would look at my ad stack properly and how am I selling my inventory,” Sherzod Rizaev, COO of Assertive Yield, concludes. “Am I utilizing the latest technologies? Am I looking at the right data normalized in one place? Do I have the infrastructure to know what’s going on, both at a very granular level or at a top level to make quick decisions?”



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