Originally published on eMarketer.

Executive Summary

In a mere matter of years, automation has come to dominate how media buyers access display ad inventory.

Programmatic advertising, that is, the use of automation in the buying, selling or fulfillment of ads, is no longer merely synonymous with real-time bidding (RTB), an auction-based, impression-level method of buying ad inventory that first put the term on the digital advertising map. Automated tools and technologies now power the vast majority of social advertising. They power direct transactions and guarantees that use automation to enhance audience targeting. They grant buyers access to premium video and in-app inventory. They make it possible to secure quality inventory and audiences from the walled gardens. Programmatic is, in a word, powerful.

We released our first estimates of programmatic display ad spending for the US in 2014. In 2015, we released our first estimate for the UK and in 2016, we released additional estimates for Canada, China, France and Germany. Over the years, we’ve watched these markets adopt, optimize and advance their programmatic advertising practices to the point where today, programmatic accounts for the majority of display ad spending for all of them.