Interactive Advertising Bureau
29 May 2016

Member News: Adform RTB Trend Report Reveals Triple-Digital Growth In European Programmatic Advertising Market

19 May 2016, London – Adform’s RTB Trend Report Europe 2015 shows slower but sustained growth in programmatic trading across Europe. The major study shows that, from January to December 2015, spending climbed 121.35% across Europe, down from 250% growth in 2014, with that the bulk of the growth occurring throughout the 2015 Christmas holiday season.

Publishers continue to reap greater rewards for offering a wider range of inventory to the real-time markets, with the average CPM up nearly 100% over the year. Mobile spend continues to be a key trend to watch, with 2015 in-app spend jumping 83.55% between July and September.

Equally significant, programmatic technology offers growing rewards for marketers, as evidenced by escalating engagement rates. In the fourth quarter of 2015, consumers spent an average of 16 seconds engaging with ads. Spending on rich media and synchronised banners demonstrate marketers’ effective use of these formats to capture the consumer’s attention.


Programmatic spending continues to reflect the overall advertising market, climbing slowly but steadily in the first quarter, followed by modest declines (17%) during the summer holidays. Once back-to-school shopping began, programmatic spending started its upward trajectory, growing 765.9% by the end of the year. From January to December 2015, overall spending increased 121.35%.

Other key highlights:

  • Programmatic spending is strong across the continent, with most countries seeing double-digit growth. Slovenia (272%), Austria (224%) and Slovakia (184%) led the way
  • Spending in Q4 15 was 76% higher than in Q4 14, a significant change in that previously, programmatic spending dropped off during the Christmas holiday season as brands and publishers locked up their inventory for direct-guaranteed deals
  • Programmatic spending for in-app inventory grew 65% from April to December and 83.55% from July to December
  • In the third quarter of 2015, smartphones received 91% of marketer budgets; in Q4 it dropped to 80% leading to a 12% boost for tablets.

It’s gratifying to see the sustained growth in programmatic marketing and the positive benefits for both publishers and advertisers. Our report clearly demonstrates that publishers who offer premium inventory via private marketplaces and rich media brand formats are rewarded with better yields. Furthermore, while creativity challenges within the advertising industry dominated the news agenda in 2015, it’s clear that some advertisers are really getting it right in the programmatic space, using creativity to captivate consumers, as evidenced by the 16 second engagement rate - a remarkable achievement,” said Martin Stockfleth Larson, CMO of Adform.

Publisher Success

Publishers continue to reap greater rewards for offering inventory to the real-time markets. From January to December 2015, the overall CPM average rose by 99.15%, with much of that growth (73%) occurring during the all-important back-to-school and Christmas holiday shopping seasons. Comparing Q4 14 to Q4 15, CPMs rose 92% in October, 91% in November, and 85% in December. CPMs grew across all device types from Q4 14 to Q4 15, with desktop earning the largest boost (111%), followed by smartphones (57%) and tablets (28%).

In-app inventory stands out in the report, with a greater than 83% lift in CPM from April to December, and a 200% increase from Q3 2015 to Q4 2015. Interestingly, the average CPM for in-app tablet inventory was more than 2x that of smartphone in-app. The high price in-app inventory provides an incentive for publishers to invest in creating mobile apps.

Strong Campaign Performance

Campaign performance throughout 2015 was strong across all metrics tracked: engagement rate and time, CTR and CPC. Average engagement time increased from 11.67 seconds in Q3 15 to an impressive 16 seconds in Q4 15. The average engagement rate across Europe increased from 1.05% to 1.51% in the same timeframe.

The average CTR increased 25% in 2015, and by 9.96% from Q3 15 to Q4 15. Rich media banners and private marketplace deals helped to drive the increases. Overall CPC increased by 42.9% in 2015 due to the rising cost of inventory. That said, in Q4 15, the CPC for private marketplaces declined by 12%.

Saturdays received the lowest number of requests (13%) for ads, and the highest number of clicks, representing a missed opportunity for marketers to reach consumers when they’re most inclined to engage. Mondays and Tuesdays received the most requests – 15.22% and 14.76% respectfully – yet delivered the lowest CTR.


Across the continent, viewability reached 58.40%, up 2.03% from Q3 15, demonstrating increasing publisher progress in optimising their sites to ensure ads are in view.

Click here for a copy of the full report. Adform will be discussing the findings in this report as well as future programmatic trends at Cannes Lions this year from Wednesday, June 22 through Thursday, June. Those interested in more information can schedule a meeting with the team here.


About Adform

Adform is the independent and open full stack ad-tech platform that encompasses creativity, data and trading, servicing media agencies, trading desks, brands and publishers globally. All of our solutions are modular, and easily inter-operate with all major technologies used throughout the digital advertising ecosystem. Adform was founded in Denmark in 2002 and is among the world’s largest private and independent advertising technology companies. We have over 700 employees globally, with offices in 18 countries throughout Europe, North America and APAC.

Visit or for more information.

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