eMarketer Raises Its Programmatic Ad Spend Estimate, Again

eMarketer Revises Forecast Again, RTB Now Expected to Grow 75.3% in 2013

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Programmatic advertising is growing so fast, ad spend analysts just turned in their second upward revision in only three months.

The revision, which comes via an analysis of multiple studies performed by eMarketer, estimates advertisers will now spend 75.3% more on programmatic advertising in 2013 than they did last year. The previous estimate, a 73.9% increase, was apparently not ambitious enough.

In dollars, that means $3.37 billion will be spent on programmatic in 2013 and $4.66 billion in 2014.

"Despite all the complications surrounding programmatic and the complexity of the industry, it continues to grow at faster than expected rates each quarter," said eMarketer vice president Clark Fredricksen in an interview with Ad Age. "It really speaks to the fact that marketers have overcome some of their hesitation about adopting such complex technology."

eMarketer releases new ad spend estimates quarterly and, after a slight downward revision in May, its programmatic numbers have spiked over the past two quarters. Mr. Fredricksen said that this quarter's upward revision was due to overall growth in digital display advertising and figures from multiple studies suggesting an advancing adoption of programmatic buying. Several studies were named by eMarketer in the report including those from Magna Global, JMP Securities and IDC.

Impact of Facebook
While this year's programmatic surge has largely been documented, eMarketer revised its 2014 forecast upward as well. Next year, the firm expects programmatic spending to increase another 38.4%, up from the 35.8% it estimated in August. Mr. Fredricksen said eMarketer expects programmatic spending next year to get a boost from the efforts of larger companies such as Facebook and Twitter.

"The roll out of FBX has big implications for the growth of programmatic," Mr. Fredricksen said. The deployment of significant resources by Facebook and others to educate marketers about programmatic may form a rising tide lifting all boats, he said. The education, Mr. Fredricksen explained, "may enable other publishes to sell using this technology to those same advertisers now, where before they weren't able to."

For publishers, the debate around whether programmatic is good or bad may soon be obsolete. "Real time bidding is certainly here," said Mr. Fredricksen, noting that it's arrived with mixed results for publishers. Either way, programmatic is now a fact of life for them, and having a defined approach to the medium will likely grow only more important with time.

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