[eMarketer] Programmatic Sellers vs. Buyers: Who’s More Hooked On Mobile?

Marketers are excited about mobile programmatic, but based on recent research, sellers are further ahead when it comes to adoption. No matter which side’s more advanced, one thing’s for sure: Inventory and spending are exploding.

According to January 2015 research by Advertiser Perceptions, US media sellers allocated nearly 40% of their programmatic ad inventory to mobile. This was higher than the other two channels studied by 6 percentage points or more.

However, buyers exhibited different behavior. Among this group, display still ruled, grabbing 41% of programmatic budgets, vs. 28% of inventory. Mobile took three in 10 programmatic dollars—just 1 point above video.

Research released in March 2015 by PulsePoint showed explosive growth in mobile inventory and spending worldwide on one part of programmatic: real-time bidding (RTB) ads.

Gains were strongest in Asia, where quarter-over-quarter growth was close to 192% in Q4 2014 alone, compared with 82.6% on desktop. Meanwhile, mobile RTB inventory rose 177.4% in Europe and 150.4% in North America in the final quarter of last year, vs. respective desktop gains of 85.0% and 56.6%. A look back at previous quarters suggested that growth isn’t slowing any time soon, as quarterly RTB mobile inventory gains had accelerated throughout the year.

RTB mobile ad spending showed even more impressive growth across the board. In both Asia and Europe, expenditures on mobile RTB placements soared about 330% in Q4 2014, and in North America this figure came in right under 300%. Just like with inventory, all mobile spending growth rates were above those on desktop by the end of last year, and increases had made huge jumps quarter over quarter.

eMarketer expects this year to be a tipping point for the US programmatic market, as spending on mobile programmatic display ads will surpass that on desktop to grab a 56.2% share of total programmatic digital display ad spending. That share will leap again next year to nearly 70%.

As media sellers continue to allocate more inventory to mobile programmatic, the dollars are following.