Here’s my attempt at a bit of Derren Brown-esque trickery.

If you’re a B2B marketer, annual planning is on your mind.  Events, email and content feature heavily.  Two fifths of your budget is allocated to digital channels.  How did I do?

If I got close to the truth, it’s not clairvoyance but just educated guesswork.  In particular the B2B Barometer suggests that, on average, B2B marketers spend 39% of their budget on digital.

Now, let me try again.  If online advertising is in your marketing plan, it’s not programmatic (i.e. automated buying of ad space in real-time based on the profile of visitors). More guesswork of course.  A new study from Appnexus, WARC and IAB Europe has found that only 22% of European marketers currently use programmatic advertising.  But if it’s not part of your plan now, it soon will be.  Analysts predict that 60% of all digital advertising will be programmatic by 2017.

Given the trend towards programmatic, here’s a few useful nuggets from that Appnexus et al study which you might find useful when crafting next year’s marketing plan:

  • Are the analysts right – is programmatic really the future?  It seems so.  30% of the 600+ marketers surveyed expect it to become ‘dominant’ in the future, and a further 59% expect it to be ‘very important’
  • What’s behind the rapid growth?  Three things.  Marketers feel programmatic provides better targeting, greater personalisation and less wastage than ‘traditional’ online ads
  • If it’s so great, why isn’t everyone using it?  Aside from that old chestnut budget, marketers cite three key barriers.  A skills shortage, a lack of transparency from owners of digital property and internal resistance created by a fear of the unknown

Let me sign off with one final stat, just for any ad agencies reading this.  Programmatic is widely seen to be inevitable once the various barriers are overcome.   And when marketers (i.e. agency clients) are asked how they expect things to pan out in five years’ time,  58% expect that ad agencies will manage the technical aspects of programmatic.  Time to start building those skills then.

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) marcoms and advertising research.

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About Andrew

Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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