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Programmatic revenue is growing fast. Here is what publishers should know.

These days, it’s looking a bit crowded in the world of digital advertising. Businesses employing different marketing methods are playing tug of war for ad inventory that is steadily dwindling, leaving advertisers frantically searching for new ad spaces. But it seems that there is an old-new trend publishers should be aware of, programmatic revenue growth is on the rise again. The programmatic advertising market is projected to grow by 314.26 billion USD from 2021 to 2026, according to research done by Technavio. This forecast period presents a thrilling window of opportunity for publishers seeking better ad prices and overall revenue growth. And with a trajectory like this one, open market buying has never looked better.

Even though publishers are still experiencing economic uncertainty, a recent survey has revealed how ad spend is being prioritized. To better understand where publishers are finding success in advertising, Digiday Research surveyed about 200 publisher professionals in Q1 and Q3 to determine if direct-sold or programmatic ads have been more profitable. In the last six months, direct-sold ads have dropped from 59% in Q1 to 45% in Q3, while programmatic ads have maintained an approximate 30% yield. Historically, this type of advertising takes up a small percentage of publisher revenue but with an 11% increase in publisher focus on programmatic growth between these quarters, direct-sold ad efforts will likely be put on hold.

Since this market is projected to be the largest revenue-generating application segment, publisher technology platforms like Sovrn are jumping at the chance to help drive this large-scale growth. Sovrn’s Signal technology has “generated billions of targeted, actionable audience and inventory segments,” which doubled ad deal revenue for the publishers that participated in the ad auction. The platform was also up to “two times more likely how to accurately predict how long a user would engage with any given ad.” With the ability to tap into real-time insights and active reader engagement, this tech unlocks a new level of audience measurement for publishers.

However, not all brands are aiming to amp up their programmatic buying. Starting in 2023, Bloomberg Media will remove open-market programmatic display advertising from its inventory to make room for house ads. For brands like Bloomberg that want advertising to accurately reflect their brand, programmatic isn’t always a safe bet due to fewer quality assurance processes. Nonetheless, industry professionals still believe that it’s possible to see a future where all media investments are programmatic. As publishers reassess their inventory for the upcoming year, a balance between reader prioritization and revenue acceleration must go hand in hand if publishers expect to see maximum optimization.