Interactive Advertising Bureau
27 November 2017

IAB Europe Press Release: Buy and sell-side stakeholders increase recognition of programmatic business impacts beyond efficiencies

Brussels, 27 November 2017 – Better campaign reporting and control on the buy-side and improved inventory control on the sell-side are now cited more frequently as dividends from programmatic than lower media costs and trading efficiencies, the latest IAB Europe Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising research1 shows.

The research, highlighted at IAB Europe’s first Virtual Programmatic Day2 on 9 November, is based on a survey of more than 700 advertisers, agencies and publishers from across 29 markets. It aims to provide clarity on the current status of programmatic adoption and stakeholders’ perspectives on its potential for delivering strategic competitive advantage.

The research, now in its third year, highlights four key findings:

  1. Quality of advertising and transparency of fees are bottlenecks to investment
  2. The business impacts of programmatic advertising beyond efficiencies are being realised
  3. In-house strategies are becoming more prevalent
  4. Investments in programmatic are set to continue to increase

In 2017 brand safety and fraud increased as barriers to investment for all stakeholder groups whilst viewability decreased as a barrier.  Transparency of fees in the delivery chain is also a concern for advertisers and in response IAB Europe formed its Transparency Working Group. The Working Group published a Transparency Guide with questions for stakeholders to ask of their supply chain partners in relation to fees. The guide also covers data and inventory source to address all key elements of programmatic trading.

The study shows that programmatic strategies are evolving and in-house operations becoming more prevalent. For example, a quarter of advertisers are now using an in-house model compared to just 16% in 2016, and the number of advertisers outsourcing to an agency has decreased. The number of agencies and publishers with in-house programmatic operations has also increased.

Looking forward to 2018, the majority of respondents state that they plan to further increase their programmatic trading activity.

Alexander Pasch, Media Strategist, Schneider Electric said: “Our decision to move programmatic buying in-house has given us various benefits in terms of cost-saving, transparency and efficiency, but most importantly, running programmatic in-house means we have many valuable insights into our customers’ behaviour and the opportunity to react to the incoming data, as we receive it. This allows us to keep our campaigns as customer-centric as they can be.”

David Goddard, Global Head of Programmatic Trading, BBC Worldwide said: “Programmatic continues to be an increasingly important part of the BBC advertising business. The growth of automated guaranteed in programmatic advertising has enabled publishers, agencies and advertisers to avoid billing issues, reconciliation and creative delivery challenges which can plague direct reservations. This has all led to greater efficiencies and control.”

Nigel Gilbert, VP Strategic Development, EMEA, AppNexus said: “Programmatic is now a €41.9bn market with publishers, agencies, and advertisers alike recognising its benefits and investing more money each year. Yet, concerns over brand safety, fraud, and inventory quality have led 95% of UK CMOs to overhaul their digital marketing strategy with 45% arguing there needs to be more focus on the quality of ad placements. This sentiment is echoed by premium publishers and content producers, keen to promote the importance of user experience and quality ad placements, and ensure brand safe environments. It’s crucial our industry—publishers, advertisers, and agencies—to come together to tackle these concerns. We have a longstanding commitment to addressing these issues, including our Inventory Quality (IQ) initiative."

The full report can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact:

Marie-Clare Puffett, Business Programmes Manager, IAB Europe (

 1 IAB Europe Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising survey

The survey illustrates the attitudes towards programmatic display advertising, current adoption and strategies, on both the buy-side and sell-side of the digital advertising industry.

2 IAB Europe Virtual Programmatic Day

The Virtual Programmatic Day is an online event that explored the growth drivers and barriers of programmatic in Europe and provided guidance on areas such as mobile, data and transparency. The event attracted 500 industry professionals from the buy and sell-side across Europe. The content and recordings from the event can be accessed here.

About IAB Europe

IAB Europe is the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising ecosystem. Its mission is to promote the development of this innovative sector and ensure its sustainability by shaping the regulatory environment, demonstrating the value digital advertising brings to Europe’s economy, to consumers and to the market, and developing and facilitating the uptake of harmonised business practices that take account of changing user expectations and enable digital brand advertising to scale in Europe.

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