As the Cookie Crumbles, Publishers Bet On the Rise of “Premium Programmatic”

Sweeping Changes Fuel Optimism About Programmatic Guaranteed and Other Alternatives to the Open Auction

Woodland Hills, UNITED STATES

LOS ANGELES, April 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FatTail, an enterprise advertising technology company built to power the premium market for publishers, today unveiled new data about the growth potential of “premium programmatic” deals and inventory. Conducted in conjunction with Beeler.Tech, which focuses on connecting people, creating conversations, and bringing efficiency to digital media and ad tech, and CoLab Media Consulting, a specialist media consulting and market research business, the study surveyed senior revenue and ad operations professionals at leading publishers, to gain a deeper understanding of their thoughts on industry trends and spend forecasts in 2021.

One of the key takeaways is that publishers are betting on the rise of automated deals that offer the scale and operational benefits of RTB-based, open auction transactions, but include the same level of granularity and control that both buyers and sellers can get from direct sales.

For example, some 66 percent of publishers surveyed expected growth in terms of programmatic guaranteed over the next 12 months -- and as the industry works to collectively move beyond third-party cookie-based targeting, FatTail expects this shift to accelerate.

“Our publisher survey points to the emergence of a new way of looking at programmatic, where it’s no longer relegated to the realm of high-volume, but low-value ‘remnant’ inventory,” said FatTail CEO Doug Huntington. “Forward-thinking publishers are exploring ways to use technology to streamline and build value into direct deals -- we’re in the midst of a shift to ‘premium programmatic’.”

The emergence of ‘Premium Programmatic’
In the third quarter of 2020, FatTail, CoLab and Beeler.Tech collected data from a group of more than 95 global publishers, whose combined annual revenues topped roughly $10 billion in 2019.

When asked about key areas of post-pandemic growth in terms of their programmatic inventory, an overwhelming majority of publishers said they were planning for increased spend in the areas of Programmatic Guaranteed, PMPs and Preferred Deals, a slice of the market FatTail defines as the “premium programmatic” segment.

Key survey highlights include:

  • On average direct sold inventory accounts for 39% of publisher revenue with (digital) programmatic accounting for 28% of overall publisher revenue
  • 66 percent of respondents expected growth in terms of programmatic guaranteed
  • 60 percent of publishers forecasted growth in preferred deals and private marketplaces (PMPs)
  • 18 percent of respondents thought that the volume of indirect inventory sold via RTB and/or the open market would shrink over the next 12 months
  • 58 percent of publishers said advertiser demand would be driving these shifts toward more “premium” programmatic transactions

The future deprecation of third-party cookies will only exacerbate that demand, as advertisers look for safe, scalable alternatives to targeting audiences through the open market. And while it may be too soon to see an immediate shift in dollars, publishers and buyers that are thinking ahead know that “premium programmatic” deals will take on a greater significance in the coming months.

“While direct sales have their place, publishers are recognizing that some budgets are only available through programmatic channels,” said Rob Beeler, CEO & Founder of Beeler.Tech “What the responses to the survey highlight is a sense of optimism, and a belief that if publishers can provide the right kinds of programmatic direct offerings, they’ll be able to capture those budgets.”

The survey also asked publishers about the challenges they faced in terms of adopting programmatic guaranteed, and the top answers focused on a need for a more automated workflow, greater transparency into bid and audience targeting data, and more centralized ad tech solutions for reporting and forecasting. Access the full survey for insights about the growth of Premium Programmatic here:

About FatTail
FatTail is a global enterprise advertising technology company. We power the only unified direct and premium programmatic supply platform. Our cloud-based solutions give publishers total control of media planning, sales, and revenue across a wide variety of advertising products and channels and offers Demand Side Systems differentiated “top of the funnel” inventory supply from the world’s most trusted brands. FatTail is dedicated to helping professional journalism thrive by ensuring publishers retain more of each advertising dollar they produce. Learn more at

Media Contact
John McCartney
Radix Collective for FatTail