This represents a huge opportunity for the industry to build targeting and measurement solutions that deliver greater effectiveness and efficiency for upper-funnel campaigns.

The report, which is published in partnership with Quantcast, looks at the extent to which brands are embracing programmatic advertising technology to drive upper-funnel consumer engagement.

It is based on a survey of more than 100 senior marketers in the UK and the US, as well as interviews with influential digital professionals working for brands, agencies and vendors.

The data shows that not all marketers have made the leap into branded programmatic, however.

Bonnie Jackson, who runs digital display at home improvement retailer B&Q, sees programmatic direct response campaigns as a natural complement to the upper-funnel branding efforts in traditional media.

We’re combining [the programmatic] approach with traditional media buys that are more upper-funnel and… testing [some buys] against programmatic alternatives.

The reason why we haven’t used [programmatic] for branding to date is that we’re still very early on in our programmatic journey and have been focusing on the key benefits of optimising towards KPIs such as ROI and leads in our early tests.

This was a common issue among the marketers interviewed as part of the report.

Until the establishment of clear measurement and ROI metrics, most brands are unwilling to dedicate large amounts of branding investment into the digital channel, citing lack of visibility into performance.

Benefits of programmatic branding

So what are the perceived benefits of using programmatic for branding campaigns?

Marketers identified efficiency, reduced ad costs and improved targeting as the key benefits, though it’s important to note the small base size for this question.

What do you see as the benefits of running programmatic brand advertising campaigns?

According to Matt White, UK Manager Director at Quantcast:

Programmatic has driven incredible growth for the digital advertising industry and has still not reached its full potential. With the lower funnel seeing the majority of programmatic usage over the years, there is now a desire for this to change.

This report helps to highlight the ever-increasing use of programmatic for branding activities.

Download the full Programmatic Branding Report for further insights into the state of this industry, including the impact of mobile, the role of video, and data management.