Programmatic? 43 percent only understand stationary

A survey of Swiss marketing and communications professionals shows that programmatic advertising is still completely new territory in many places.


Programmatic buying can perhaps be seen as one of the biggest developments in advertising buying in recent years. Just a few years ago, the term was limited to online media. Programmatic has not only revolutionized online advertising, but is increasingly becoming an issue for today's still traditional media channels such as radio and television.

But that's not all: the habits of an entire industry sector are being challenged with this automated purchasing of advertising space. What will become of the usual e-mail exchanges, appointments and telephone calls that have mediated these processes up to now?

Programmatic is still on the rise and continues to grow unabated. This is shown, for example, by the increase in global investments: In 2012, investments amounted to 5 billion dollars. In 2015, they are already at 38 billion dollars (source: Zenith Optimedia / United Kingdom).

What is clear is that under such changing circumstances, it is becoming increasingly competitive to keep pace with this technological change in a dynamic environment. This includes the emergence of new words, concepts and business areas that are already on the agenda, such as Demand Side Platform (DSP), Supply Side Platform (SSP), Big Data, etc.

TBS has conducted a Europe-wide study on the purchase of advertising space via Programmatic Buying, which was elaborated on the basis of Lefac data. Lefac is a database for advertising professionals. The aim of the survey was to explore the current entrepreneurial state of knowledge around Programmatic Buying, not only to better understand how it is implemented within different entrepreneurial advertising strategies, but also to foresee which possible business models could become tomorrow's trends.

In Switzerland, too, 241 marketing and communications professionals (70 percent from German-speaking Switzerland and 30 percent from French-speaking Switzerland) from advertising companies took part in the study. The results distinguish between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland.


The following are the most important results of the Swiss survey. In October, TBS publishes the international comparison between the countries surveyed. The TBS Group has specialized in the media and communications industry for more than 25 years and has also been present in the Swiss market for two years with active.

State of knowledge

57 percent of respondents are already familiar with the term Programmatic Buying. Nevertheless, there are still 43 percent of participants who have never heard of Programmatic Buying.



In French-speaking Switzerland, 80 percent of respondents invest less than 20 percent of the online advertising budget in programmatic buying and it is very unlikely that they will spend more in the next 12 months than in the last 12 months. The situation is different for advertisers in German-speaking Switzerland, where approximately 30 percent of respondents are already investing between 21 percent and 80 percent of their online advertising budget in Programmatic Buying. In particular, it seems interesting that those who currently invest less than 20 percent of the online advertising budget in programmatic in German-speaking Switzerland intend to spend more in the next 12 months.


Critical factors

The factors that respondents said could be considered "critical" because they could have a negative impact on programmatic buying of advertising space include the following: Inventory Quality, Brand Safety (inappropriate environments online) and Ad Fraud (click fraud).


Business models

In terms of models, 54 percent of respondents from French-speaking Switzerland and 40 percent from German-speaking Switzerland currently delegate programmatic tasks to their agencies. According to the projections, however, this strategy will lose ground. In contrast, it appears that in-house and hybrid models may become the trends of tomorrow. This is clear evidence that the number of those who want to be involved in Programmatic is continuously increasing.


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