Casale Media

Casale Media

October 21, 2013 09:00 ET

Casale Media's Index Quarterly Report Shows That A Rapid Adoption of Programmatic by Top Brands is Quickly Reshaping the Landscape

Report Shows That Growing Use of Multiple Bid Protocol, Seasonal Trends and Cultural Phenomena Are Fueling Both Growth and Improved Pricing in Programmatic

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 21, 2013) - Index, a division of ad technology leader Casale Media, today released the findings of its Quarterly Report covering Q1 and Q2, 2013 (download the full report here). The report offers the clearest evidence to date that event and seasonal activities impact the volume of programmatic spending, and that jockeying for position by industry leading telecom and auto brands including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, General Motors, Toyota and Ford, along with retail and travel giants like Target and Priceline, is driving up prices for average winning bids (up 12%), and where impressions clear (up 11%) for RTB. Over this same period, the market also saw a sharp increase (up 41%) in bid density - the number of bids per impression - as top Demand Side Platforms (DSP) adopted multiple bid protocol and new/unique advertiser demand increasingly comes online.

The latest Index Quarterly report, which aggregates data from the billions of impressions traded each quarter across marketplaces powered by Index, shows that the overall number of brands participating in RTB grew by 69% between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013.

AT&T held the top spender spot throughout the entire first half of 2013, with General Motors, Toyota, Sprint, Ford and Verizon also making the top ten in both quarters. Telecom and Automotive brands were heavily represented within the top ten spenders in both Q1 and Q2.

"We're seeing leading brands' programmatic tests turn very quickly into a full commitment to RTB, much to the delight of many in the digital publishing space," said Andrew Casale, VP of strategy for Casale Media. "The programmatic market is being shaped by just a handful of major brands in key verticals that are fully committed to RTB. Typical audiences for a given vertical may not necessarily be as available or effective when heavy spending brands outside the vertical begin to snap up that in demand inventory. Automotive brands will pay top dollar for 'auto purchase intenders,' forcing retail, telecom and travel advertisers to pay more to reach these targets. We're very excited to bring these insights and a higher overall level of transparency to the programmatic market, because it's the only way to develop smarter programs and better ROI."

Top ten advertising spending sectors in Q2 included - in order - Business, Travel, Media, Telecom, Financial, Automotive, Education, Food & Drink, Retail and Healthcare, which now account for 90% of all programmatic spending. The top five sectors account for just over three quarters of all spending throughout the first half of 2013.

The report also highlights quarter-over-quarter movement within the key verticals. Media moved from the top spot in Q1 to third overall in Q2, with its average winning bid price dropping 33% in the wake of heavy spending from the Business sector, which pushed up from eighth to first, driving its average winning bid prices up 70%. Of the top 10 vertical categories by bid volume, Travel and Finance indexed highest for average bid prices across both quarters, despite travel having the second lowest average bid volume. Both sectors are response driven, willing to bid very high to win a narrow amount of impressions tied to highly valuable "in-market consumers."

Response driven sectors like Travel and Automotive significantly over indexed for bid price, while under indexing on bid volume. This results in higher bid prices to win those select impressions with high conversion potential. This approach differs greatly from branding and awareness-focused sectors that tend to cast a much wider audience net. And while there was some degree of consistency in the bid price indices for top sectors over the first half of 2013, there was no clear correlation between bid volume and average bid prices. The findings suggest that each sector employs its own propriety bidding strategies, depending on varying brand goals, seasonal influences and audience interest.

Other key findings include:

  • The result of new brands and increased activity in RTB is affecting top 100 programmatic spenders, who used to account for 64% of the total marketplace in Q1, down from 68% in Q1 the year before and further dipping to 58% in Q2
  • Global/National brands continue to dominate the overall market holding at over 70% share through the entire first half of 2013, up slightly from the 68% share it accounted for over the second half of 2012
  • Only minor fluctuations in market share were observed among the local, vertical and regional brand tiers over the last four quarters, with the most significant change in share across tiers taking place during the fourth quarter of 2012
  • The top five DSPs still account for a large majority of marketplace spending (70%), with the top three accounting for just over 50% in Q1 and 42% in Q2
  • Spends among the top ten DSPs started to even out some in Q2, relative to Q1, as buyers continue to test, adopt and push budgets across more platforms over time
  • The share of impressions originating from mobile Web (IAB standard impressions) and desktop platforms was 11% and 89% respectively
  • In Q2, retail accounted for nearly twice the market share of the second largest sector, Automotive, with top sub-categories accounting for nearly half of all spends within retail - Apparel & Footwear (24%) and House & Home (23%)

The full Index Quarterly Report (which can be downloaded here) discloses hard facts that are emerging from data collected from Q1 and Q2 of 2013, across marketplaces powered by Index. Data is based on marketplace activity in the United States only, and can also be accessed in real-time at

About Index

Index provides a neutral, transparent exchange layer that enables leading publishers and suppliers to sell their ad impressions in real time. A division of online media technology veteran, Casale Media, Index equips enterprise level sellers with custom architected solutions, fully transparent sell side management technology, and access to programmatic demand that is organized and certified by humans into an ever evolving taxonomy.

About Casale Media

Casale Media is redefining the standard for online media quality, ad delivery management and media optimization technologies. Its premium advertising network is a brand-safe media environment that is used by 8 of the top 10 U.S. online display advertisers and seamlessly integrates survey, panel and actual product consumption data from leading market research firms to make it easy to reach the best customers quickly and at scale. Casale Media obtains quality inventory from 3,000 actively monitored premium publishers, across which it reaches nearly 70% of the U.S. online audience. Generating measurable success for all stakeholders in media and marketing, Casale Media is guided by its dedication to needs based development and its quality focused culture. More information is available at

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