CHICAGO, Nov. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new advertising agency survey indicates a growing percentage of advertising agencies are putting their trust in programmatic buying, as skepticism in the tool drops and its benefits are more understood. The third quarter agency survey conducted by STRATA, the leader in media buying and selling software, found that 20% of agencies say they trust programmatic buying to properly execute ad orders, the largest amount ever in the STRATA survey. Twenty-nine percent of agencies polled intend to carry out up to 20% of their business programmatically, while the survey recorded a 16% drop from the previous quarter in agencies that say they do not trust programmatic. Of the advertising agencies that use programmatic buying, the greatest benefits they see in the automated process are the improved ability to reach targeted audiences (32% of respondents), improved buying efficiency (28%), improved campaign insights (22%), and access to new inventory types (18%). However, many agencies questioned the quality of programmatic inventory (41%) and transparency (36%). The survey also found that social media continues to be an important tool in ad campaigns, yet it is failing to grab a large share of ad budgets. Eighty-three percent of agencies polled said they are allocating between zero and 10% of their total budgets to social media. Facebook continues to lead the pack as 84% of agencies responded they are likely to use it in client campaigns, with YouTube (51%), Twitter (50%), and LinkedIn (43%) following. Google+ came in fifth place at 33%, which marks a 70% increase from a year ago.
"We see a clear trend in agencies showing more confidence in programmatic, as agencies have developed a better understanding of the benefits that programmatic offers. Our agencies are reporting that the automation, along with improved targeting and buying efficiencies, are some of the many advantages they see. However, programmatic buying and selling won't be completely embraced until quality and trust issues are resolved," said Joy Baer, president of STRATA." The survey also found that the ad economy is strong, although a new challenge has emerged for ad agencies. Almost half (46%) of agencies say they see their business increasing this quarter as compared to last year, while 29% of agencies plan to hire staff this year, up 33% from last year. Only 4% of agencies say they plan on decreasing their staff. However, for the first time in the history of the STRATA survey, media mix topped the list of challenges that agencies face at 28%, while client attraction fell 34% from a year ago to second place.
Sixty-three percent of agencies also say that video (comprising of TV, cable, network, and streaming/online) is the main emphasis of campaigns. Streaming/online saw a 58% increase in interest from a year ago, while spot cable and spot TV experienced a 23% and 19% increase during the same time frame, respectively. Network TV saw a jump of 16% from a year ago.