Claims that programmatic advertising is in breach of GDPR have failed to halt the behavioural ad juggernaut, with the vast majority of UK brands increasing their spend on the technology since the new regulation came into force.
So says research commissioned by the US-based Interactive Advertising Bureau on the programmatic market in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, which quizzed 950 brands on the effects of GDPR on the market as well as the adoption rate of programmatic in-housing, in-housing drivers, and in-house buying functions.
According to the study, two-thirds of European brands indicated that programmatic ad spend actually increased since GDPR D-Day, although there are no figures for how much it has risen by.
The IAB study also shows that GDPR appears to have had little impact on data loss, with only 7% of UK brands believing that the volume of targeting data had declined since May 26. In fact, three-quarters (76%) have actually reported some level of data quality improvement.
There has also been a surge in programmatic in-housing, driven by cost efficiency, audience targeting, and campaign effectiveness, all of which are wrapped in brands’ desire to drive business by controlling their own destiny, the study says.
In total, 88% of UK brands surveyed have either moved the function in-house (48%) or have done so in part (40%).
Higher-level programmatic functions, including media strategy, audience planning, and validation, establishing KPIs, data science, and direct control of contracts with data management platforms and data service providers, are more likely to be handled in-house.
However, not surprisingly, brands were more prone to outsource highly-specialised programmatic functions such as data management, technology build-outs, and training.
The report states: “Programmatic display ad spending in the UK continues its steady ascent and will account for nearly 90% of all digital display ad expenditures by 2020 according to eMarketer. This spending trajectory is similar in direction for search, mobile, and digital video. Programmatic ad buying is the de facto method for digital ad transactions in European markets. And, as digital marketing and advertising dollars surpass other media forms, programmatic in-housing becomes attractive for brands that desire to more closely control their digital advertising strategy and outcomes.”
Whether this inexorable rise will continue once the data regulators have carried out their investigations – triggered by complaints from tech start-up Brave, the Open Rights Group and University College London – remains to be seen.
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