Programmatically purchased ads are on an adolescent-style growth spurt. They’re escalating from half of all dollars spent on digital ads last year to two thirds this year, and are on a track to nearly three quarters next year, according to projections from eMarketer. In dollars, the trend traverses from $15.8 billion spent programmatically in 2015 to $27.5 billion in 2017.
“Programmatic is extremely efficient and unparalleled in its ability to pair rich audience data with ad inventory and targeting,” says Lauren Fisher, a senior analyst for the research company. “Buyers and sellers are becoming more comfortable with the technology.”
Mobile is the catalyst for programmatic’s spectacular rise. Programmatic mobile ads are on pace to account for seven out of 10 dollars spent on display ads this year, and next year mobile video programmatic spending will surpass desktop, eMarketer predicts.
Programmatic’s meteoric rise, however, remains tainted by concerns about fraud and waste. A Google/Double Click study released in 2015 held that display ads bought programatically were 55% more likely to be loaded by bots than those bought directly from publishers. Moreover, digital ads themselves are highly wasteful, according to Forrester’s 2015 Online Benchmark Survey, which found that 62% of people actively avoid all website advertising.