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Programmatic adspend to grow 19% in 2019, reaching $84bn

65% of all money spent on advertising in digital media in 2019 will be traded programmatically.

That’s according to Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts, which says advertisers will spend US$84bn programmatically next year, up from US$70bn this year, which represents 62% of digital media expenditure.

The forecasts predict that in 2020 advertisers will spend US$98bn on programmatic advertising, representing 68% of their expenditure on digital media advertising, encompassing all forms of paid-for advertising within online content, including online video and social media, but excluding paid search and classified advertising.

Zenith says the breadth of ad formats available through programmatic trading is improving, with more mobile, video and audio formats coming online all the time, though brands and agencies need to do more to push publishers to improve the quality of their inventory, which needs at minimum to be safe and viewable.

Growth in programmatic advertising is slowing as it cements its position as the most important method of digital trading. Zenith estimates that programmatic adspend will grow 24% in 2018, down from 32% growth in 2017, and forecast 19% growth in 2019, followed by 17% growth in 2020.

In dollar terms, the biggest programmatic market is the US, where Zenith expects US$40.6bn to be spent programmatically in 2018 – 58% of the total. China is in a distant second place, spending US$7.9bn on programmatic advertising this year, followed by the UK, with US$5.6bn of programmatic adspend.

The US is also the market that has most embraced programmatic advertising, trading 83% of all digital media programmatically this year. Canada is in second place, trading 82% of digital media programmatically, followed by the UK, with 76%, and Denmark, with 75%.

By 2020, programmatic advertising will account for more than 80% of digital media in all four markets. Canada will have almost completed the transition to pure programmatic trading, spending 99% of digital media programmatically that year.

Zenith expects all markets to follow Canada and use programmatic trading for all digital media transactions eventually. Indeed, it says it’s only a matter of time before programmatic trading becomes the default method of trading for all media. However, the transition is taking slightly longer than expected – last year Zenith forecast that 64% of digital media would be programmatic in 2018, and 67% would be programmatic in 2019, so it has pulled back both forecasts by two percentage points.

The introduction of privacy legislation such as the EU’s GDPR has had some chilling effect by making certain data previously used in programmatic transactions unavailable, and making other data more costly to process. But Zenith thinks the main reason for the slowdown in spending on programmatic media is that advertisers are investing more in infrastructure and data to make their programmatic activity more effective.

“Programmatic trading improves efficiency and effectiveness, and is gaining a dominant share of digital media transactions,” said Benoit Cacheux, Zenith’s Global Head of Digital and Innovation. “The scale of operational restructuring to make the most of it is both extensive and expensive, though, and advertisers are spending more carefully while they invest in infrastructure and data and review the quality of media. All programmatic advertisers need a strategy for acquiring the best and most comprehensive data available, and to treat this data as a vital corporate asset.”

“Technology is making programmatic advertising work harder for brands,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence. “Artificial intelligence promises to unlock new understanding of customers as people, as well as improving the optimisation of the trading process.”

5 tips to engaging and entertaining audiences on social

Emma Worth, Creative Social Strategist at Ralph, shares her top 5 tips for engaging and entertaining audiences on social media…

1. Become a Fan

To truly create an emotional connection with your audience on social, you need to share their passions wholeheartedly. That means living and breathing the brand and becoming as obsessive as they are. Ok, we can’t all take that as far as our tattooed Social Manager for Matt Groening’s Disenchantment, but we can take time to understand our audience and their lives. Because, if you can fully grasp your audience and master what they want from the content they consume, you’ve solved the first piece of the puzzle. This, in-turn, means they’ll engage and share more as a result. If they like quizzes, give the people quizzes!

2. Speak Your Audience’s Language

A bulletproof tone of voice is perhaps the most important thing for shaping your brand on social. We believe there are two considerations that you need to mould your brand TOV.

i) The language of social : Social has a language of its own, so embrace it in a way that fits your brand and your audience. Sometimes, we celebrate the language of social and memes so mercilessly that it goes beyond parody.

ii) The language of your audience : We have to continually be flexible with TOV dependent on the communities we’re trying to connect with. Going from the fabulous to the cynical.

But sometimes we might not inherently ‘get’ our audience. So for that, there’s comparative linguistics. Taking one data set of language and comparing it with your target audience’s use of language online, by filtering through AI – in order to find out the unique way they communicate, so you can speak that way too.

3. Create Content That Fits

The golden rule? Don’t feel pressured to be present everywhere, all of the time. Consider individual platforms and the way audience’s use them, and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Ensure content fits seamlessly within the brand experience or play with functionality to subvert the experience. Consider also, the world we live in today: a ‘now’ world. Practically everything is on-demand and accessible. Social and our audience is ‘always-on’, so our content should be too. We shape and prime our messaging to be in-the-moment and for the now, reacting in real-time and only dropping content when an instant action can be taken.

4. Engage One 2 One

It’s easy to be seduced by big numbers. But don’t forget the little guy. Treat your community as individuals to build stronger relationships. Yes, we’re talking about our good friend, community management. This type of instant connection between brand and consumer is often overlooked, but it nurtures each and every one of the tips we’ve outlined so far.

Become their biggest fan, communicate with them in the way they communicate with you, share their enthusiasm, sorrow or excitement, and be present in the places they are present to show you’ve taken the time to consider their investment in your brand.

But don’t consider this as a boring daily checklist strategy. These relationships can be super playful, they can show empathy, be darn right sassy, or prove you share common ground; but most importantly, they can generate even more organic engagements from other individuals – because your audience wants to be a part of your conversation.

5. Capitalise on your community

Brands grow through incremental reach, so whilst it’s great to foster your community, it’s essential to aim above and beyond, using your passionate audience to make and break trends, creating reach outside of owned channels. This can be as simple as a Tweet that reflects the mood of your audience or using social to mobilise your audience to take part in real world events to spread your message far and wide.

Survey highlights creative sector’s ‘astonishing’ gender pay gap

Research conducted by one of the UK’s largest contractor accountants has revealed that men in the creative industry earn up to 26% more than women in the same roles.

Hemel Hempstead-based SJD analysed salaries of both male and females in the creative sector revealing some astonishing pay differences.

Copywriters and graphic designers, for example, see pay differences of upwards of 25% between males and females.

However, the IT and Engineering sectors have the largest pay gaps, a 30% difference, which has seen males earning a huge £15,000 more than females.

The gender pay gap has been an increasingly important and developing conversation for a number of years within the media and government.

Increasing pressure has been put on businesses to disclose their gender pay gaps and redress the balance to aim for more equal pay.

The survey by SJD Accountancy saw more than a 1,000 contractors questioned, and data gathered on their salaries to create a better picture of which sectors are closing the gap and which are still struggling to find parity.

Derek Kelly, CEO of Optionis Group which owns SJD Accountancy said: “The gender pay gap has been a topic of increasing conversation, putting the difference in salary into real terms has been shocking.

“This information now highlights the genuine impact that this can have not only on employees but their families and long-term prospects.”

To find out more details about your industry and the gender pay gaps SJD has launched an interactive tool, visit for more information.

Mr Kelly added: The tool helps to give workers, whether in permanent or temporary roles, more of an insight into the pay gap within their industry. This improves understanding of the pay issues within certain sectors.”

IPA Bellwether reports UK digital ad budgets rise

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Bellwether reports marketeers have revised their budgets upwards in the first quarter of 2017, the highest level recorded in almost a decade.

Some 26.1 per cent of those companies polled remain positive about 2017/18 budgets, signalling growth for the coming year,  while 11.8 per cent of companies said that marketing budgets would increase during the first quarter of 2017.

32 per cent of those companies polled also reported improvement in the financial pipeline, compared to 19 per cent that predicted things would be worse during the quarter.

The IPA reported marketers on tighter budgets are seeing greater value from digital and positioning ad spend accordingly, mostly as a direct result of the unknown effects of Brexit negotiations and wider economic uncertainty.

However, despite a positive outlook for digital ad spends in 2017, the IPA predicts stagnation materialising in 2018, with marketers being advised by experts to proceed with caution.

Speaking about the report, the IPA’s director general Paul Bainsfair said: “The election result has thrown further uncertainty into an already volatile environment.

“It is inevitable that this has had a knock-on effect on UK. Specifically, for marketers this has meant a desire, where possible, to seek out more activation driven advertising. As evidenced strongly in this latest Bellwether Report, this has resulted in a further move towards advertising in the digital space.”