The Future of Media Buying: What Lies Ahead?

The last decade has been transformational, to say the least when it comes to the future of Media Buying. If we were to look back 10 years we would see that globally digital-only contributed to 20% of all media buying in 2012. Cut to 10 years later it is estimated that in 2023 Digital is expected to be 60+ % of all media buying done globally. Here are two charts that show the phenomenal growth of digital.

The digital advertising ecosystem is growing and how!

And, if we move a few years further ahead, digital advertising will be a 1 trillion dollar market by 2027. This means, in the next 6 years, the current ad spend in 2021 will grow by 600+ billion dollars.

The Future of Media Buying: What Lies Ahead?

Earlier, many believed that digital advertising stole market share from print. But this is no longer true. Recently, marketers from Volkswagen America, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Colgate-Palmolive agreed that the majority of TV ad spend will occur programmatically via connected TV within three years. Clearly, programmatic is the future of media buying. So, let’s see who dominates the programmatic space today. Of course, there aren’t any formal reports covering the split between large DSPs in terms of market share. But, this article here does a good job of splitting the total programmatic pie between the big players. A chart from the article is below.

The Future of Media Buying: What Lies Ahead?

Clearly, fragmentation is a key challenge in programmatic at a staggering 60%. Of course, Google dominates a major chunk with DV360. Next, 100s if not 1000s of players share the remaining chunk. I do foresee many specialist DSPs cropping up as the digital marketing space explodes between now and 2027.

AI and in-housing will drive the future of programmatic

Also, I foresee the use of AI for optimizing digital ad spending. Globally, programmatic effectiveness is becoming more and more dependent on the use of custom AI models to improve performance. Now, many major DSPs allow you to bring your own models to their DSPs. Also, they allow you to improve your campaign performance. Recently, MathCapital and Trade Desk venture capital arm TD7 invested in ChaliceAI, a company that does exactly the above. It builds custom AI models for DSPs.

So, if we look through the above, it is abundantly clear that Programmatic + AI will be the future of Media Buying. But, it won’t be one size fits all. And, no one player (even Google) will dominate this space. As CTV, DOOH and other forms of offline media like radio go programmatic, new platforms that aggregate and build AI layers on top of existing infrastructure will pop up. Also, what is driving this change is the move towards programmatic in-housing. Naturally, marketers are taking back control with Direct contracts with DSPs. Also, they are creating a center of media excellence (COE) within their own organizations.

Closing thoughts

Before I go, I believe the future of media buying is going to be MADtech – a combination of MarTech, AdTech & DeepTech (specifically, AI). Naturally, this will drive efficiencies at scale and enable transparent control for marketers.

At RD&X Network, we are betting our money on this future. We are building ReBid – our enterprise madtech stack of products – for clients to take complete control of their digital future of media buying. To know more about our products visit

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