In their first ever published estimates, eMarketer disclosed that US programmatic ad spend topped $10 billion in 2014 and is projected to double to more than $20 billion by 2016. This represents 63% of total digital display advertising. Lauren Fisher, analyst for eMarketer says, "2014 has proven a pivotal year, and with the majority of infrastructure now laid and testing well in progress, we'll see programmatic ad spending explode from 2015 into 2016." With this kind of dominance, there's little question that programmatic advertising is here to stay.

As of 2014, automated ads already accounted for nearly half of all US digital display advertising. And since you can buy mobile advertising as well as video ads programmatically, it is likely to continue to represent the future of digital advertising. But there are some serious problems with programmatic media buying.

Paying for Unviewable Ads:

Brand Safety:

Despite these issues, programmatic media buying continues to grow at a rapid clip. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has attempted to combat some of these issues by issuing an anti-fraud working group as well as guidelines and best practices. But unfortunately, there is too much money and a lack of penalties/enforcement for fraudsters to pay much attention. As the industry comes together in an attempt to stamp out fraud, it becomes clear just how difficult eliminating fraud will be for the foreseeable future--at least as it pertains to programmatic ad buys. So, for now anyway, it's (media) buyer beware.