New Survey: 85% Of Advertisers and 72% of Publishers Use Programmatic Auction Strategies

IAB & Winterberry Group Study Also Points to More Aggressive Adoption On the Horizon, But Brand Safety Concerns Could Prove a Potential Stumbling Block to Programmatic Technology’s Growth

NEW YORK – Programmatically-bought campaigns are seeing widespread adoption across all marketing and media segments, but the practice still faces some hurdles, according to a whitepaper released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Winterberry Group, entitled “Programmatic Everywhere? Data, Technology and the Future of Audience Engagement.”

“Programmatic Everywhere? Data, Technology and the Future of Audience Engagement”

Based on a survey of more than 250 executive-level thought leaders from across the digital marketing industry, the whitepaper shows that a majority of advertiser and publisher panelists (85% vs. 72%) presently use programmatic buying strategies, and even more expect to leverage programmatic over the course of the next two years (91% of advertisers vs. 83% of publishers). However, each group cites different reasons for their interest. More than half of advertiser respondents (55%) say they value programmatic buying’s ability to effectively engage with target audiences across various digital properties. Sixty-three percent of publisher panelists, by contrast, say they are driven by the need to achieve operational efficiencies in media transactions.

When asked to select their associations with term “programmatic,” 68 percent of all panelists included marketing and media workflow automation in their choices—more so than any other definition. Close behind, two-thirds (66%) correlated “programmatic” with auction-based media buying. Respondents noted that their use of programmatic technologies may broaden over the next two years, as programmatic could have a wider range of strategic uses. The two areas at the top of the list were audience segmentation and actionable insight development.

Despite the positive momentum, the report points to concerns that need to be addressed if the programmatic practice is to continue its robust growth. Notably, a third (33%) of advertiser panelists stated that brand safety issues are actively inhibiting adoption of programmatic approaches because of decreased control over where their advertising may be viewed.

In addition, the whitepaper identifies five emerging trends that are expected to define the likely evolution of the programmatic marketing landscape:

  • As mobile devices assumes a central role in consumers’ digital lives, the importance of cookies is rapidly receding, creating the need for an alternative method for audience identification, segmentation, and analysis
  • Programmatic is applicable to all media types—paid, owned, and earned—traversing screens, devices, and countless media properties, which in turn will continue to fuel the desire for richer and more actionable customer profiles that are addressable across channels and media properties
  • Increasingly recognized as the backbone of audience-centered programmatic efforts, data will continue to grow in strategic value—heightening the importance of strong management platforms and enterprise governance strategies focused on ensuring access to and security of that critical resource
  • With a multitude of supporting technologies in place or in development, various organizations in the digital marketing supply chain will need to restructure and realign to better aid programmatic execution
  • It is tremendously challenging for marketers to evaluate and select from the hundreds of technology service providers to support a comprehensive programmatic effort, sparking continued consolidation among third-party solutions into a series of fewer, but more robust, platforms

“The rise of programmatic buying and the inherent operational efficiencies it promises offers a positive sea change for the entire digital industry,” said Patrick Dolan, Executive Vice President and COO, IAB. “But, if we’re going to take full advantage of programmatic’s buying’s potential, it is incumbent upon the industry to overcome barriers to its success. The IAB has already taken steps to address the issue of brand safety through its Quality Assurance Guidelines program, and will continue work with our members to develop programs to address obstacles as they arise.”

“The widespread adoption of programmatic strategies is allowing for greater efficiencies and stronger consumer marketing effectiveness,” said Jonathan C. Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group. “Programmatic is already driving a new era of value and performance for marketers, agencies, and publishers, while offering consumers better utility and relevance in their brand interactions. The findings in this paper point to agreement on programmatic’s incredible benefits across the board, and now the industry needs to coalesce around some key issues in order to further its prospects.”

The premier sponsors of the IAB-Winterberry Group whitepaper include [x+1], Chango, and MediaMath, with Accordant Media, AdTaxi Networks, CPXi, and DataXu serving as supporting sponsors.

“Programmatic Everywhere? Data, Technology and the Future of Audience Engagement” was released at the “IAB Ad Operations Summit: Operational Implications of Automated Advertising” conference, held at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel in New York City.

To read the full report, please visit


The paper’s findings are based on the results of an intensive research effort that included phone, online, and in-person surveys of more than 250 executive-level advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers, and marketing service providers (conducted predominantly in the United States between August and September 2013).

About Winterberry Group

Winterberry Group is a unique strategic consulting firm that supports the growth of advertising, marketing, media, and information organizations. Affiliated with Petsky Prunier LLC—a leading investment bank providing merger and acquisition advisory services to companies in the same sectors—the fFirm offers its clients a strategic perspective that is unparalleled in its addressable industries, while PPLLC maintains exceptional relationships with industry executives and business owners. This combination of market intelligence, research, and strategic operating experience (as well as the ongoing dialogue among buyers and sellers of marketing businesses) provides an educated outside perspective that we bring to each engagement. For more information, please visit

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies, and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City, with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit