IX Perspectives

The Programmatic Revolution in APAC

Welcome to ‘State of the Ad Tech Market’, a series highlighting different programmatic perspectives around the world. This month, Adele Wieser, Index Exchange’s Managing Director, Australia, speaks about the revolution of programmatic advertising in APAC.

The landscape of programmatic advertising varies greatly depending on your viewpoint, particularly for those of us sitting in Asia-Pacific. Collectively, this sliver of the world is expected to contribute about 42 percent to the increase in global ad spend this year, as predicted by Dentsu Aegis Network in January. That said, the ways in which tech partners interact with this spend differs vastly from market to market and country to country.

Over the next several paragraphs, we’ll look at a few of these wildly different markets from a birds’ eye view — focusing predominantly on Australia, Japan, and Singapore — before highlighting the ways in which Index is crafting solutions to serve any and all market needs across APAC.

Let’s look at Australia as our first example. At the tailend of 2018, there were approximately $4.3 billion in the digital ad market, with emerging formats like mobile and video growing at a rapid pace (as reported by IAB Australia). More specifically, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific predicts mobile will increase by 28 percent, “to a total advertising market value of $5.3 billion” (Australian dollars) this year, making up more than 60 percent of the total digital spend. Further research suggests that nearly two-thirds of this budget will be bought and sold programmatically by the year 2020. In other words, it’s a small continent with a mighty amount of influence — two facts which have jointly allowed Australia to become the programmatic market leader on this side of the globe.

Similarly, in Singapore — a hub for Southeastern Asia (SEA) — online ad spend has truly taken off, and it’s only expected to continue climbing. Back in 2017, research conducted with the IAB Singapore showed the country’s spend had outpaced that of Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines (it was second only to Taiwan). Looking ahead, the online advertising market is expected to reach over $787 million (AUD) in 2022 — with mobile swallowing more than half (58 percent, to be exact), as predicted by PwC, and automated advertising tactics (i.e. header bidding) becoming increasingly popular.

Finally, let’s turn to Japan. Theirs is the fourth largest internet advertising market in the world, with revenue expected to reach over $20 billion (AUD) by the year 2022. That said, the ways in which this market behaves with ad spend differ vastly from the behaviours seen in countries like Australia and Singapore. Programmatic advertising is just gaining traction in Japan (and in surrounding countries like South Korea), with practices like header bidding only now beginning to weave their way into the industry conversation — largely because consumers in this market had been wary of the opacity of digital advertising in years passed.

Despite the varying levels in spend, maturity and device focus across these markets, consumers and programmatic partners across APAC — from Sydney to Seoul — are completely aligned on the importance of prioritising transparency, collaboration and accountability in digital advertising solutions.

Research suggests that consumers — and therefore publishers — in APAC are just as wary of their personal data being misused as consumers in the US and Europe. More specifically, eMarketer reports that approximately 86 percent of Australians have expressed concerns that brands and companies are sharing their personal data.

And at Index, we haven’t taken these concerns lightly.

Trust, transparency, and accountability are consistently at the top of our priorities list. From our decision to become the first-ever exchange to lift the veil on our source code (by way of the Wrapper Ecosystem) to our steadfast commitment to create collaborative Identity solutions, we are constantly striving to deliver greater clarity to our partners, ultimately allowing them to deliver a more seamless experience to the end user. In APAC and across the globe. We’ve also worked to craft innovative and elegant solutions that allow us to thrive in cookie-less environments (i.e. mobile and video — both of which are ripe for disruption in APAC).

All this to say, the programmatic industry — in APAC in particular — is fast-moving, fast-growing, and incredibly varied in maturity. In some ways, it’s thrilling; in other ways, challenging. But companies and consumers on this side of the planet are collectively pushing us to change the game. At Index Exchange, we’re excited to step up to the plate.

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