Competition And Prices For Programmatic On The Rise Globally

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Turn CompetitionCompetition is growing in the programmatic buying space globally, and with that, eCPMs for most channels are also on the rise, according to marketing software and analytics platform Turn.

The company's Advertising Intelligence Index, released today, looked at global trends in data-driven marketing from January 2013 to January 2014 and found that competition was increasing on all channels of programmatic: display, video, mobile and social.

"We looked at how much competitive noise is happening in each of these channels at times that marketers might want to engage with their audiences," said Paul Alfieri, VP of marketing for Turn. "There are times when your market is more noisy and there are times when your market isn't, and as a marketer, you have to evaluate when you want to play."

The report, which also analyzed the competition among different industry verticals, found that as competition rose, so did the eCPMs. For display, the average price of eCPMs rose 19%, while social rose 24%. Video was also up slightly, only 4%, and the average eCPM for mobile dropped 40%.

Turn Chart 1

Alfieri explained that the rise in costs is simple supply and demand, as competition increases. The programmatic markets for display, social and video have settled into a rhythm, but for mobile, he said, the market is still figuring itself out.

"The bottom end of mobile prices, the least expensive impressions, are actually moving toward the average and middle, which is good for the publishers," he told AdExchanger. "Publishers are now able to get more value for each impression, and that shows a maturing market. We're seeing better data pass between publishers and advertisers, so we're getting more to the true value of what that impression is at that moment."

Globally, the level of maturity sets the trends in different regions. More mature programmatic buying markets, like North America and Europe, have seen major advertisers participate in this programmatic buying, increasing competition and generally raising prices.

In more emerging markets, like Asia-Pacific and Latin America, there are still some advertisers who aren't engaging online and in the programmatic space. Those markets have lesser competition and lower average eCPMs, but the markets overall still need to mature before they settle into a solid supply-and-demand rhythm, Alfieri said. Mobile is also playing a bigger role in Asia-Pacific and Africa and the Middle East than in more established markets, according to Turn's report.

Turn also analyzed different industry verticals, highlighting which industries are seeing more competition and which are seeing less. The entertainment, arts and hobbies industry saw a 60% increase in competitiveness over the course of 2013, while the competitiveness of the sports and recreation vertical dropped 121%.

Turn Chart 2

The report looked specifically at four industries—food, apparel, financial, and home and garden—and how competition and the change in spend shifted throughout the year. Holidays like Memorial Day and Black Friday influenced the competitiveness in some industries, while advertisers in other verticals spent more as competition increased throughout the year.

Alfieri noted that advertisers can use this information to plan for future campaigns and executions: "To know and understand the competitive dynamic before you launch your advertising and really see the granular data at the market level," he said, "that can drive much better planning decisions, which ultimately drives much better execution later on."

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