Programmatic partnerships set to rise for publishers over the coming year

Programmatic has enjoyed a considerable rise in status over the last few years among advertisers, marketers and publishers alike, and recent figures suggest it's only set to keep increasing. 

The Association for Online Publishing’s (AOP) eighth Organisation Census shows that 60% of publishers are expecting the number of programmatic partnerships to rise in 2016. In addition, a further 80% said they see data monetisation as a key area for expanding current business activity.

The study, which also provides insight into the current UK digital publishing landscape, shows that publishers are also pricking their ears up where marketing automation is concerned, with 50% of publishers anticipating increased investment in that area. 

Activation and monetisation of data is shown to be a key focus for publishers, who are embracing technology as well as recruiting a greater number of specialists

Data is a key theme that keeps popping up througout the research, as data management is seen as a prominent area of development for half of publishers. Social media (45%) and video desktop (45%) follow closely behind.

Digital's also far from being a buzzword, delivering real ROI for publishers. As many now say, it's 'business as usual', and according to the survey, brings in nearly half of total business revenue for UK publishers. 

Mobile's on the up

Every single respondent has reported an increase in their smartphone audience over the last year - and 60% experiencing a "major increase". In addition, 70% reported an increase in tablet audience, while desktop audience decreased for 35% of respondents. 

An important stat for marketers, the survey showed that the largest source of digital audience in 2015 was search at 36%, followed by direct traffic (i.e. typing in the URL or accessing via a bookmark) at 31%.

And it's also good news for those job-hunting within the media, as 40% of publishers are looking to increase staff numbers within database and data analysis in 2016 to reflect this.  

Hiring and keeping people is a challenge

In fact, staffing and skills development are set to be major areas of focus for publishers in 2016. Almost 70% of publishers expect to increase staffing, with key areas of skills enhancement cited as ad sales (60%), audience development (50%), and editorial and content (50%).

Although recruiting data specialists, developers, and ad sales experts was also identified as a challenge by 35%, 30%, and 25% of publishers respectively.

Challenges for publishers over this year were centred around recruitment and retention - but unsurprisingly, adblocking also received a mention.

Richard Reeves, managing director at the AOP, commented: “Activation and monetisation of data is shown to be a key focus for publishers, who are embracing technology as well as recruiting a greater number of specialists in automated trading, data analysis, and creative partnerships with advertisers." 

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