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US Programmatic Digital Display Advertising Outlook 2021

US Programmatic Digital Display Advertising Outlook 2021

Various forms of automated trading have dominated digital display advertising for years, and programmatic will continue gaining ground this year in pockets where it’s less penetrated, including on connected TV (CTV) devices and in digital audio ads.

How has our outlook for US programmatic ad spending changed since the pandemic?

In July 2020, we made significant cuts to our pre-pandemic forecast. However, major digital ad sellers reported better-than-expected results throughout the summer. US programmatic digital display ad spending grew more than 10% in 2020 and will rebound to 24.1% growth in 2021.

What are the fastest-growing areas of programmatic display in the US?

Broken out by device, programmatic ad spending will grow fastest on CTV, where we predict 52.9% growth in 2021. In terms of formats, video will continue to drive faster growth than nonvideo display across all devices. Another rapidly growing area is digital audio services advertising, including podcast advertising—but here, the base level of spending remains comparatively tiny.

What major trends will influence how advertisers allocate programmatic budgets in 2021 and beyond?

Infrastructural changes, including the deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome and changes to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), will shake up the programmatic media ecosystem. Consumer behavior shifts are also driving advertiser allocations, including the increasing time spent with video streaming services (often at the expense of linear TV) and the popularity of mobile gaming.

KEY STAT: Advertisers increased their spending on programmatic digital ads in the US by 10.4% in 2020—better than the 6.2% growth we expected in the middle of 2020—and will continue to pour more dollars into display formats, especially video, bought through automated means.