Australia is Programmatic Fantastic

Posted by IAB Australia On September 01, 2014

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Speechwriter for the Dalai Lama? Events manager for Richard Branson? Financial advisor to Gina Rhinehart?

All those jobs have their merit, but I suspect the novelty would soon wear off. For me, when it comes to the best job, I’m already in it. Why? Because programmatic advertising is booming and, right now, Australia is one of the best places to be involved.


Aside from the views from the office, the climate, beaches and harbour, there’s a lot to base my claim on. For a start, the United States may be the largest ad market in the world in terms of total spending, however Australia ranks first in ad spend per person. In fact, according to eMarketer estimated Australian per capita ad spend is 144 percent greater than the U.S. and 134 percent greater than the U.K.

Australia is a great test market for tech companies. We’re an isolated island, speaking English, with similar (attitudes) to America and Europe, with a dollar that is at near parity with the US. Software and plug-ins can be tested here before a full-scale launch into other, larger markets.

Whilst programmatic business is booming on Australian shores, we’re still a relatively small industry. We have the same sophisticated approach as other programmatic-adopting nations, but there’s far fewer of us. This makes it easier to drive change. On the downside, our size has meant that we have had issues with scale and available inventory, but these have forced us to think about how to use programmatic beyond exchange buying. For example we have been leveraging programmatic direct deals as part of annual agency contracts for years, this is relatively new in other markets.

Even though we’re a country of just 23 million people we do have some big local publishers. Having a small number of big players makes it easier to get (all) key stakeholders in a room to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities.

Due to our smaller size, the players in this market have a great deal of influence. Programmatic experts are part of a fairly limited gene pool, so the industry values those who know what they’re talking about. For anyone playing in this space there’s a massive opportunity drive change whilst growing with the industry. There’s also still opportunity for new players to come along for the ride.

In other words, Australia is one massive programmatic hotbed. We can help set the direction for the global industry by nature of our size, experience and, importantly, our location. For many industries, Australia’s time zone makes us a natural position for global operators wanting to keep working through Europe and America’s overnight shift. Last but certainly not least, let’s not underestimate the massive growth opportunity from Asia sitting right on our doorstep. These are the same factors that have seen Australia bat above its weight in many other sectors.

So, excuse me while I smile, take a bow and congratulate myself for having one of the best jobs in the world in a progressive industry that has only just embarked on its journey of innovation. Whilst I may come across as the very definition of smugness, I am by no means alone. With demand way outstripping supply, there’s always room for more evangelists to drive programmatic growth in this island nation. So perhaps it’s time to reconsider your dream job. Besides, Gina keeps tight reins on her money, Richard Branson comes up with his own stunts and, I’ve heard, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes his own material.

IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.