IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem, today (September 29th, 2022) announced the results of its annual ‘Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising Study’.
Now in its eighth year, this study has become an industry benchmark and helpful insight to show how programmatic advertising attitudes, adoption, and strategies are evolving. This year the study tripled in responses with over 1,000 industry professionals taking part across 29 markets in Europe. The respondents represent four stakeholder groups — advertisers, agencies, publishers, and ad tech vendors — to ascertain the views and directions from the entire ecosystem. More than half of the respondents across advertisers, agencies, and publishers manage annual advertising budgets of €1m (£895,000) or above.
Nick Welch, head of EMEA programmatic sales at IAS and programmatic trading committee chair at IAB Europe said: “The 'Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising 2022 Study' serves as an important annual benchmark towards programmatic strategies in digital advertising. The widening of the research shows its focus across various players in the industry from multiple markets. We're grateful for all the respondents to the study and helping set the agenda for the coming 12 months. Even amongst the backdrop of tightening budgets and further media scrutiny, it's encouraging to see that investment in programmatic is likely to increase. Alongside this, we're witnessing tremendous appetite across growing environments such as connected TV (CTV) and audio. However, marketers must play a crucial role in these areas, ensuring that balance is found between optimising media spend, data transparency, and delivering a targeted and enjoyable consumer experience.”
Positive outlook driven by connected TV
All stakeholders (74% of advertisers, 80% of agencies, and 68% of publishers) are expecting their programmatic investment to increase over the next 12 months. There seems to be consensus around connected TV as a key growth area: more than 50% of all stakeholder groups cite this as a key to programmatic growth over the next 12 months. Voice — almost non-existent as key to growth in previous years — makes a strong appearance this year, with 32% of advertisers and 28% of agencies citing this as a key growth area.
Commenting further on the investment trends, James Collins, SVP, media network, Rakuten Advertising, said “The annual Attitudes to Programmatic Report from IAB Europe is an important indicator for the industry on the opportunities and challenges for programmatic advertising. It’s positive to see that CTV remains the largest growth area for programmatic, with key learnings in this report hopefully the industry can take a step closer to capitalising on this opportunity.”
Media cost efficiencies are key to investment
More than a quarter of advertisers and agencies ranked cost efficiencies as the most important driver for programmatic investment. This is closely followed by granularity of controls and transparency of reporting. Advertisers also cite costs as a barrier to investment: 22% ranked it as the number one barrier. Quality of media is also a concern (38% ranked this as the first or second barrier to investment). For agencies, hiring and training staff is a key barrier to programmatic investment.
Advertisers shift from in-housing to a more dynamic approach
In 2021 50% of advertisers said they had an in-house model. This seems to have dropped significantly to 16% in 2022. There seems to be a more hybrid or dynamic approach, with advertisers tapping into a range of methods such as outsourcing to a DSP, independent trading desk, etc. This is perhaps being driven by the struggle to source the correct talent, paving the way for consultancies to play a more vital role in the process.
Interaction and quality metrics are key to measurement
When asked which metrics are important to evaluate display campaigns that are traded programmatically, the majority of advertisers cited social interactions as the most important, as opposed to sales which was the top metric in 2021 (59% vs 37%). For agencies and publishers, it is delivering quality metrics (60% and 53% respectively) that is most important.
Shift in the Type of Data Used for Audience Targeting
The study shows a decrease in the use of first-party data alongside an increase in second-party data. Whilst 2021 showed first-party data was the priority for advertisers, agencies, and publishers in 2021, this is now ranked third behind second-party data (the most popular priority averaging 57% with agencies leading at 60%) and third-party at 49%.
The report, written by industry experts from IAB Europe’s membership, forms part of a comprehensive programme of pan-European educational and guidance outputs published by the IAB Europe Programmatic Trading Committee. The full report with accompanying graphs can be downloaded from IAB Europe’s website here.