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Nearly Two-Thirds of Brands Purchasing Ads Through Programmatic Means Have Fully or Partially Moved the Function In-house, According to IAB Research

Report Provides Guidance On What Brands Need To Consider Before Bringing Programmatic In-House

NEW YORK, NY (May 22, 2018) —According to research released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Data Center of Excellence, 65 percent of brand marketers that purchase digital ads programmatically have either completely moved programmatic buying in-house (18%) or have partially begun the process of internalizing the function, with plans to continue further down the path (47%). Entitled “Programmatic In-Housing: Benefits, Challenges and Key Steps to Building Internal Capability,” the report, which includes both a marketer survey and leadership insights, identifies the top brand motivators for taking programmatic in-house:

  • Improved ad performance/ROI
  • Cost efficiency/transparency
  • Better control and management of data and targeting
  • Enhanced real-time optimization capability
  • Full accountability and focus on brand goals

In addition, the paper explores hurdles, noting that the programmatic in-housing transition typically requires at least a one-year commitment, complex coordination of partner contracts, staff training, and more.

The report taps into industry experts to distill a checklist of critical steps to meet challenges head-on:

  • Conduct an internal assessment, including an evaluation of media performance and cost-benefit analysis
  • Create a ramp-up
  • Practice “data centricity” and integrate multiple data sources
  • Establish a tech stack
  • Attract and retain talent

Comprehensive guidance is offered, alongside real world anecdotes and observations.

“If brands are going to bring programmatic in-house, they need to understand both the benefits and pitfalls,” said Orchid Richardson, Vice President and Managing Director, IAB Data Center of Excellence. “This research makes it clear that a significant percentage of brands have already moved in this direction—and we can expect that more will follow suit. Coupled with the growing trend of brands embracing direct-to-consumer strategies, this report is very timely. Its expert counsel on what brands need to consider before moving programmatic capabilities in-house will be invaluable.”

“Programmatic In-Housing: Benefits, Challenges and Key Steps to Building Internal Capability” was published with the support of the IAB Data Center of Excellence and Accenture Interactive.

To download the complete report, please visit

The quantitative results in the research paper are based on Advertiser Perceptions Omnibus Survey fielded in April 2018. One hundred and nineteen U.S.-based brand representatives participated in the survey. The respondents represent media decision makers across all titles and 16 major ad categories. All are qualified as involved in making digital, television, mobile, radio and/or print media decisions.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, it develops technical standards and best practices. IAB and the IAB Education Foundation are committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a San Francisco office.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]