Programmatic advertising is taking off in Belgium, albeit slowly
Last month the second annual RTB forum was held in the city of Brussels. With over 120 attendees the interest for this event was high, especially when compared with last year’s attendance of around 35. It gives everybody the feeling that programmatic advertising has massively taken off in the Belgian market.
However, from eight presentations there were only two speakers that came from Belgian companies – Digital Video Market Place and OMD Belgium. The rest hailed from France (where were the Dutch players on the stage?). You could be mistaken for believing that the Belgian market is actually a sub division of the French market based on the content from the event.
Programmatic advertising has massively taken off in the Belgian market
OMD Belgium did an interesting presentation on creativity and the extent to which that can play a role within the programmatic environment. Based on the examples shown, programmatic creativity is definitely possible with brilliant case studies shown from Sublime Skinz (France), The Place to Bid (France), Just Premium (NL) and 4W Marketplace (Italy).
It looks like the advertisers themselves have not yet entered into the adopting phase, as they seemed completely absent in the room. When the audience were asked whether they worked at an advertiser, no one raised a hand. Perhaps they were too afraid of being hunted down by the sales teams… We have seen this in other markets. However, we are starting to see changes in the markets that were early adopters of programmatic, in that some advertisers are now building their own trading desks. This is not yet the case with our Southern neighbours.
Over the next few months you will hear about some of the largest publishers in Belgium entering into the programmatic space with Improve Digital, which will create some interesting Best Practice case studies to be shown at upcoming conferences. Given international trends and the fast adoption of programmatic advertising in neighbouring countries the adoption in Belgium will only be a matter of time. Or as one audience member said “programmatic advertising in Belgium will be driven by the mobile advertising market.” And 2014 will almost certainly be the year of mobile.