Global programmatic spend up 24% in 2018 but will slow next year

New forecast predicts slowing growth as programmatic becomes dominant form of trading digital media.

Global programmatic spend up 24% in 2018 but will slow next year

Declining growth in programmatic adspend illustrates how the format has become the main method for trading digital media globally, according to Zenith’s latest forecast.

The report, released this week, estimates that, in 2019, almost two-thirds of all digital media adspend will be traded programmatically, increasing 19% to $84bn worldwide from $70bn in 2018. That growth is less than the 24% forecast for 2018 and it will decrease further to 17% in 2020, the report found.

The US is still far ahead of any other market in terms of programmatic adspend, reaching $40.6bn in 2018. China is a distant second with $7.9bn, but its growth trajectory remains extremely high, with 36% growth estimated in 2019 to reach $10.8bn and another 38% hike in 2020 to reach $14.9bn.

Other Asia-Pacific markets in the report – Australia, India, Hong Kong and New Zealand – are all predicted to see significant growth in programmatic adspend, but the actual spend remains small overall.

Zenith also attributed the slowing growth of programmatic adspend to more brands and businesses investing in data and infrastructure to make their programmatic advertising more effective. The European Union’s GDPR privacy regulation has also had something of a "chilling effect" on the rate of programmatic adoption "by making certain data previously used in programmatic transactions unavailable and making other data more costly to process".

"Technology is making programmatic advertising work harder for brands," Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence, said. "Artificial intelligence promises to unlock new understanding of customers as people, as well as improving the optimisation of the trading process."

A version of this article was first published by Campaign Asia-Pacific