Programmatic advertising in the United Kingdom - statistics & facts

Within a decade, digital advertising spend in the United Kingdom has more than quadrupled, reaching 14 million British pounds in 2019. The largest share of that is programmatic, representing nearly 89 percent of the nation’s total display advertising spend - more than that of the USA and the global average. Additionally, in 2019 the UK alone made up for 31 percent of the total programmatic advertising spend in Europe, the largest share among all countries. As a market leader in the programmatic industry, the UK is also forecast to continue to grow in this area, accounting for an annual spend of 6 billion British pounds by 2021. Most of that spend will be on video.

Programmatic ad agencies – transparency is key

While automating ad buying and selling comes with a host of positives - not the least of which is cost-efficiency - the rapid onset of programmatic advertising means there has been an increased strain on brands as they struggle to manage its various aspects. With needs ranging from database management to algorithm creation, many companies are not fully equipped to handle such demands and therefore resort to outsourcing certain areas of programmatic advertising, mainly in the areas of data management and campaign strategy. This is often done in conjunction with specialist partner agencies such as AppNexus and OpenX, which according to a late 2019 survey were the top two partners used by companies worldwide to manage their ad technology. What makes a partner agency stand out? According to global CMOs (chief marketing officers) transparency is the main factor when it comes to selecting a partner.

A shift to private marketplaces?

While the total spend of programmatic advertising in the UK is forecast to rise until 2021, most of it will come from direct deals, i.e. deals between a seller and buyer rather than real time bidding (RTB) via an ad exchange. A shift towards private marketplaces is also expected within real-time ad buying and is forecast to comprise over half of all RTB spend by 2021. Unsurprisingly, this shift follows a rise in worldwide digital ad fraud, which is expected to cost the industry 44 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 alone.

Ad placement and attitudes to targeted advertising

Most consumers agree that placement influences whether an ad is perceived as trustworthy or not, with increased negative perception particularly if an ad was placed next to controversial content. Overall, it appears that feelings towards targeted advertising are still mixed, with 68 percent of UK adults admitting they were still uncomfortable with the idea.



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Programmatic advertising in the United Kingdom (UK)

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