UK sees strong growth in programmatic video, mobile ad spend

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of digital display advertising in the United Kingdom will be delivered programmatically, according to a new study from eMarketer.

The research company said it expects brands will spend £2.67 billion ($4.08 billion) on programmatic trading, up 44% from last year.

eMarketer said it expects U.K. digital display ad spending to make up more than three-quarters of the market by 2017.

More than half (51%) of all digital video advertising inventory will be traded programmatically this year in the U.K., as premium inventory struggles to catch up with demand. But eMarketer expects programmatic video spending to grow even more quickly than programmatic mobile spending over the next few years.

Programmatic spending on mobile, meanwhile, is expected to reach £1.99 billion ($3.04 billion) this year, almost three-quarters of total programmatic display ad spending. That’s expected to top 82% by 2018, when mobile will account for £3.20 billion ($4.89 billion) in spending.

“The story here isn’t surprising,“ said eMarketer UK analyst Bill Fisher. “Eyeballs have moved to mobile and ad spend has followed. All the while, programmatic has been around in the background, so it’s little wonder we’re seeing mobile programmatic taking off in such a big way.”

The researcher said programmatic direct trading, a pre-negotiated approach that does not involve an auction, is on course to overtake trading via real-time bidding (RTB) in the U.K., reaching parity this year and claiming 52% of the market by 2018. RTB has traditionally dominated the programmatic space.

 “Much of the programmatic direct total is accounted for by social media ad impressions, which are predominantly traded this way,” said Fisher. “However, outside of social, people are coming round to the greater degree of certainty offered by this way of trading. Even within the RTB total, private marketplaces – small, invitation-only auctions – are becoming increasingly prevalent as people seek more control over the programmatic trading function.”

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn