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APAC: 90% ad professionals use programmatic for mobile

The majority of programmatic adopters within the APAC region use programmatic for mobile and video – giving it a much higher use ratio than the global market, according to a study by AppNexus. Nine out of ten professionals in APAC (90 per cent) use it for mobile advertising and eight out of ten (79 per cent) use it for video. This is compared to 71 per cent and 56 per cent respectively, globally.

The global study was conducted with Circle Research in association with AppNexus, WARC IAB Australia and IAB Singapore. It surveyed 202 advertising professionals from the Asia Pacific region including advertisers, media buying agencies, advertising agencies, agency networks, publishers, and ad tech companies.

Over three-quarters (77 per cent) of advertising professionals in the APAC region now use programmatic advertising. This high adoption rate indicates that advertisers, publishers, and everyone in between see programmatic as a vital part of the future of digital advertising due to its ability to deliver more efficient and more effective advertising campaigns.

Indeed, for digital advertisers using programmatic, ‘targeting’ is cited as the biggest reason for adoption across APAC. Respondents believe it is far more important ‘who sees’ an advert rather than ‘how many’, with nearly two thirds of those asked (64 per cent) giving ‘targeting’ as the main reason to use programmatic. High viewability, therefore, is seen as less of a priority in APAC, with only half (51 per cent) in the region saying it is important.

The research also reveals almost all (93 per cent) of media buying agencies are using programmatic across APAC. The majority (92 per cent) of advertising professionals expect programmatic will be the dominant or an important force in digital advertising in the years to come, and two-thirds (65 per cent) of the ecosystem recognise that knowledge of programmatic will be one of the most important capabilities that agencies will need to possess in five years’ time. This compares to just over half (57 per cent) of professionals who believe that high levels of creativity will be important, indicating a significant shift in areas of focus and expertise for the industry. Even today, more than half of survey respondents (59 per cent) believe a strong knowledge of programmatic is a necessary skill for agencies.

Dave Osborn, VP Sales APAC, AppNexus said, “It’s clear to me that the vast majority of digital advertising will be transacted programmatically in the next few years, so it’s critical that we ensure the most important stakeholders are brought along the journey. Yes, we have to address the valid concerns people are expressing regarding control and transparency. But that needs to be part of a much broader education for advertisers and agencies that helps them understand when, where and how this evolution towards programmatic execution can benefit them…and equally where they’re exposed to new risk.”

However, many in the industry still grapple with the concept of programmatic. Across Asia Pacific, more than one-third (36 per cent) of advertising professionals admit they know very little or nothing about how programmatic works. Interestingly, the lack of knowledge about programmatic runs concurrent with the relatively high usage of it (77 per cent), suggesting there is a ‘do first and understand later’ attitude.

One of the biggest concerns, cited by four in ten (40 per cent) respondents, is the lack of transparency on where ads end up displayed, and almost half (48 per cent) of local professionals fear their advertisements will appear on undesirable sites. Additionally, only one in four advertiser respondents (25 per cent) in APAC identify as totally confident in knowing how effective his or her digital campaigns perform. These concerns around trust indicate a need for education and transparency in order for programmatic to reach its full potential.

Edward Pank, Managing Director, Warc Asia Pacific said, “It’s very encouraging to see that adoption of programmatic in this region is on the rise and effective targeting, is one of the key reasons behind this growth. Yet clearly more needs to be done to help build confidence, know-how and best practice across the industry to help programmatic reach its full potential in the years to come.”

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.