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Study: Brands Increasingly Embracing Programmatic Ads, Spending On The Rise.

A new study from B2B marketing firm Ascend2 finds about two-thirds (66%) of marketers are planning to increase their budgets for programmatic advertising this year, with the remaining third looking to cut back.

The study, “Programmatic Advertising — Strategies, Tactics and Trends,” finds 37% of survey respondents are anticipating a budgetary hike of 10% of less. Fifteen percent expect an increase of 11% to 24%, while 14% expect to grow programmatic spending by 25% or more.

Meanwhile, most survey respondents are feeling pretty good these days when it comes to achieving their strategic objectives. Seventy percent view themselves as “somewhat successful” in that respect, with 23% characterizing themselves as “very successful” or “best-in-class.” Just 7% see themselves as “unsuccessful.”

The report comes as a growing number of marketers are reducing their budgets and hoping for ways to make their dollars go even further, especially in the aftermath of America’s COVID-19 economic shutdown.

Despite programmatic advertising’s steady proliferation, Ascend2’s study found major challenges still exist. Among the biggest ones: audience targeting (46%), budget allocation (37%), personalization (32%), achieving ROI (30%) and data quality (30%).

The research also identified primary objectives for programmatic campaigns, including driving sales (53%), lead generation (47%), build awareness (47%), customer retention (36%) and social engagement (22%).

To that end, the most effective tactic by far, according to the research, is audience targeting (73%). That’s followed by keyword targeting (41%), retargeting (27%), contextual/targeting (26%), geotargeting (25%), testing creative (22%) and increasing automation (20%).

Another finding is that more than four in five marketers (82%) have — at least to an extent — moved their programmatic programs in-house, a move that reflects a broader brand-marketing trend. Among those embracing that approach, 29% use in-house resources exclusively, while 53% employ a combination of in-house and outsourced resources.

The report, which is based on a survey that was conducted during the week of May 4, had a total of 264 respondents.

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