According to GroupM’s findings, 20% of U.S. digital display inventory was comprised of online video in 2015. Many of these are distributed through Facebook’s mobile feed; Facebook makes three quarters of its total revenue through mobile, Norman said.
“We know so relatively little about the distribution usage of platforms [like Facebook] compared to what we know about the distribution of audience on TV,” he said. “We’ve been pushing those players for more transparency in those areas because it’s our general view that any business that is funded almost entirely by advertising has an obligation to the advertiser to [report] how their audience is distributed and how they use it.”
Unless companies like Facebook and Google become more flexible in sharing their data, agencies will continue to struggle to report video ad success.
But it’s not just thanks to these platforms that digital ad spend continues to rise. According to Norman, digital’s growth also comes from publishers’ ongoing transformation to fit in the digital ecosystem. Many are still evolving to combat ad-blocking and viewability concerns. Interaction states that 25% of consumers use ad blockers in the United States.
“There isn’t stratospheric growth in what we call the display market, but there has been enormous reinvention in traditional publishers like The Washington Post,” he said. “There are also the arrival of new places to tell highly valuable stories, like Refinery29 and Mic.com. They’ve found great audiences and made digital a legitimate form for content consumption. Growth will come from that.”
Norman said these same publishers have done a better job moving their content from digital magazine formats to the app environment, in turn making advertisers more comfortable spending on mobile.
According to GroupM Interaction, programmatic buys were transacted at a global average of 37% in 2015, up from 21% in 2014.
This story has been updated with a link to GroupM's Interaction Report.