Programmatic media buying traditionally flourishes in times of recession; 2008 turbocharged programmatic media buying and a similar spike was seen in 2020. But will this trend continue in 2022 in the face of the slowing down of ad spend?

Benefits of Programmatic Buying in Hard Times


Recessions allow marketers to reassess their marketing strategy and eliminate media wastage. Non-programmatic channels are relatively inflexible and not as adaptable an asset, which drives decisions to divest budget away from these channels when every penny has to be accounted for to keep costs and losses down, and ROI up.

Greater Affordability and ROI

Research has found that advertisers on linear radio receive an average of more than $6 in brick-and-mortar retail sales for every $1 spent, audio ads generate 60% higher ad recall than more than 1,600 comparable online campaigns, and that podcast listeners are more likely to take action in direct response to hearing an ad during their favourite podcast, with 45% visiting a website, and 42% considering a new product or service.

“Expect a sharp initial decline in programmatic spending followed by an even sharper rebound once the economic situation improves… the ability to reach relevant audiences at scale and efficiently more than make up for fees associated with ad tech. Brands will still need to reach audiences in a tighter economy, but nice-to-have media investments and other fat will be cut in favour of media that can prove its value.” Eric Haggstrom, Director of Forecasting, Advertiser Perceptions

Platforms like AdTonos are less restrictive than others; AdTonos can work to budgets of $100 or $100,000, and no campaign is too big or too small to run. Through AdTonos, clients have access to premium inventory and features, for example from over 21 DSPs including: Adobe Advertising Cloud, AdForm, AudioTrade, DAX, Google Marketing Platform, Hawk, MediaMath, TheTradeDesk and more.

‘Cash Back’ and Less Wastage

According to Jared Belsky, CEO and co-founder of Acadia, programmatic allows clients more insight into wasted ad dollars as well as clarify what the data is telling them, brand safety, viewability and transparency. Ultimately, “this will help the industry, not hurt it” in his words.

Jillian Tate, SVP and Head of Programmatic and Paid Media at Bounteous, highlighted that whereas marketers “can’t claw [upfront and print] cash back” brands will withdraw money from digital avenues “to make their quarterly returns look better”, even if this means taking “a temporary hit to have fewer expenses in that quarter”.

It is hard to argue with data, so real-time campaign analytics, such as those offered by AdTonos’ platform, can help marketing teams re-prioritise different elements of their media mix.


According to Ketch’s “The Person Behind the Data” report, 82% of those surveyed had concerns over data collection but ultimately, 83% saw the value proposition of sharing their data; 45% stated learning about new products and having a hyper-tailored customer experience as a key benefit, and 43% alluded to receiving perks from brands. More than the volume of data collected, individuals’ trust and purchase intent is affected mostly by the length of time their data is stored for.

Open-real-time bidding (RTB) platforms have to contend with increasing privacy concerns and changing legislation that they are less adept to confront, versus programmatic platforms. For this reason, programmatic tends to be favoured over RTB.

The general consensus seems to be that private programmatic marketplaces (like AdTonos) or direct-programmatic buying will fare better due to superior performance, accessibility across all budgets and adaptability to flexibly meet the needs of publishers, advertisers and creators alike.


“Programmatic performs very well for advertisers, both in upper and lower funnel. We’re much more likely to see pull back on harder to quantify media such as traditional channels, or even direct media before we see reduction in programmatic.” Ryan Eusanio, Managing Director of Digital Activation, Omnicom Media Group

Programmatic solutions like AdTonos’ Audiopixel boast conversion rates that are higher than the industry average, in some cases reaching over 30%. For more success stories, you can visit the AdTonos website or get in touch with the team for a demo of the platform.