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The use of data-driven software to automate online advertising, already a fast-growing phenomenon known as programmatic buying, is on the cusp of taking over the way most digital ad budgets are spent.
That’s according to a new survey of more than 400 marketers, ad agencies, publishers, and ad tech firms released this morning by AdExchanger, a publishing and now research company focused on tech-driven digital advertising. Compared with the traditional (and rapidly declining) method of people arranging ad deals with individual publishers by phone, fax, email, or perhaps even three-martini lunches, programmatic methods allow for more efficient spending on highly targeted audiences across a wide variety of media.
Right now, the majority of marketers are managing at least 20% of their ad spend programmatically, but almost two-thirds plan to spend double that much this way over the next 12 months. And a quarter of marketers plan to spend at least 80% of their budgets programmatically. “Marketers are already spending a lot on programmatic media and expecting strong growth,” Joanna O’Connell, AdExchanger’s director of research and a former Forrester marketing analyst, said in an interview.
Agencies are stepping it up even more. Currently more than two-thirds of agencies use automated ad buying for at least 20% of their budget, and more than a third are up to at least 60%. Almost half plan to get to 60% by 2015.