Programmatic Market Maturity Report 2018

/ the report

Much of the global programmatic infrastructure has been born out of the Western world, but one size does not fit all.

For advertisers to scale their programmatic operations, they need to know the size and attributes of each market to provide a tailored approach.

Programmatic spend per capita provides a strong indication of market maturity. However a deeper dive into supply-side dynamics (including Private Marketplace level, ads.txt penetration, device usage), is needed to provide a comprehensive assessment of maturity.

Markets have local nuances, but opportunities exist to group these. The objective for this research has been to identify a limited number of market categories, enabling broad approaches to countries which share common characteristics. These market categories are:

  1. Programmatic First Markets

  2. Maturing Markets

  3. Mobile First Markets

  4. Emerging Markets


1 / Programmatic First Markets

Most inventory sources are accessible programmatically, providing scaled access to premium inventory, often in a flexible and transparent commercial model. Advertisers should demand high viewability, fully disclosed trading and a high level of data access.

2 / Maturing Markets

Most inventory and formats will be available via programmatic, but access will be less automated. Factors such as legacy trading relationships and/or geographic or cultural remoteness has supressed maturity. It may be necessary to visit these markets to establish relationships with publishers.

3 / Mobile First Markets

Predictably these markets exhibit much higher volumes of inventory on phone and tablet than in other categories. A solid solution for capturing and reporting on device is critical.

4 / Emerging Markets

Suppliers in these markets are often entering programmatic from traditional trading, meaning legacy trading practices persist. Transparency can be a problem and focused attention on scope and contracting is recommended.

In Programmatic First Markets scale is achieved through the wide adoption of header bidding by premium publishers. This boosts the supply of premium inventory, like video. This scale allows advertisers to maximise the viewability of budgets and pursue direct to publisher relationships within exchanges (see chart below).

Maturing Markets have a higher volume of direct ads.txt inventory than might be expected. In general this is a mature characteristic, but in this category, it reflects the fact that programmatic is concentrated into relatively few sales houses, which can create a barrier to wider programmatic market adoption (see chart below).

Mobile First Markets have a relatively low supply of desktop inventory, which mandates an different approach to that of the desktop first programmatic world. Advertisers may need to consider an alternative mix of data and technology partners in this app first environment.

Private Marketplace (PMP) adoption is increasing rapidly everywhere, especially in more mature markets. PMPs can translate to higher prices (than the Open Marketplace), but advertisers can balance this against better access to both premium inventory and unique publisher (2nd party) data.

Download the report

The full 40 page report goes in depth on the market categories as well as the individual markets to provide insight into how advertisers need to adapt their strategies across the globe. WFA members can download it here.


In association with Infectious Media | Data partner: BidSwitch

Contact us

For more information or questions, please contact Matt Green

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