Two-thirds of programmatic traders in the digital advertising industry are managing six campaigns or more at any given time, according to a new report by audience engagement firm CtrlShift.
Surveying traders from around the world, but predominantly in Asia-Pacific, the ad tech company’s ‘How Traders Trade’ report shines a spotlight on the increasing demands on programmatic traders, and highlights that their workloads are not allowing them to make the best use of their skills.
The role requires “not just in-depth knowledge of multiple platforms and optimisation strategies, but deep understanding of consumers and a constant need to be up to date on the latest trends,” said Dominic Powers, CtrlShift CEO. This skill set is being undervalued, however.
“The industry’s most tragic and unrealised opportunity is the underutilisation of our programmatic traders,” Powers said. “There is little room to harness their contribution as true knowledge workers, when so much of their time is spent managing mundane complexities and disparate processes.”
The report emphasises this with findings such as the statistic that 48% of respondents say they are using five or more platforms a day, with almost 20% using eight on a daily basis.
Just over half of respondents carry out one to three campaign optimisations a week, with a third reporting three to six optimisations. Perhaps counterintuitively, respondents said smaller campaigns with budgets of around US$50,000 were more complex to manage than those of US$1 million or more.
The greatest drain on traders’ time and resources is reporting, the survey found, with 42% saying that more than half of their reports were still done manually, and 29% creating manual reports 80% of the time. In this case, both the biggest (above US$1 million) and smallest (US$50,000 or below) campaigns required the most manual reporting.
All of these factors combine to indicate a significant risk of burnout for traders, with the report, tellingly, showing that nearly half of the 93 respondents had spent less than 12 months in their current role.
John Thankamony, CtrlShift head of programmatic strategy, said: “Challenged to respond quickly to data from a number of data sources, traders are expected to be thinkers and doers — analysing data on the go and acting on them with timely optimisations to ensure effective campaigns.”