Thought Leadership

2020 Programmatic Trends in LATAM

January 29, 2020

Patrizio Zanatta, Managing Director LATAM, and Salomão Junior, VP of Seller, LATAM, discuss their predictions for 2020 in the LATAM programmatic market, including more adoption of Demand Manager and the growth of audio and video. 


How has Demand Manager been received in LATAM?

PZ: Demand Manager has been very successful in LATAM, and we expect the growth of 2019 to continue in the New Year. We’ve been working with most of LATAM’s top-tier publishers; most of the installations are in Brazil, which is the most advanced market, but we will shortly have partners using Demand Manager in Argentina and Mexico. For 2020, we anticipate adoption among top publishers in all the LATAM countries. 

SJ: Brazil is a very different market from the rest of LATAM. It’s the most advanced in the programmatic space, so Demand Manger has been very popular, and many of the biggest publishers are already live. São Paulo is a programmatic hub, but in 2020 we expect Demand Manager adoption will spread to other areas of Brazil. 

PZ: Close to 100% of our publishers in LATAM are using Prebid. experienced tremendous growth in 2019 and generated lots of buzz. Rubicon Project and other partners in took the initiative to educate the market about the advantages of open source header bidding, and adoption has been huge. Everybody now knows what Prebid is. 

SJ: In the past year, we saw a few Brazilian publishers moving to Prebid Server for video and app inventory. I believe we will see more adoption in 2020, especially with the upcoming privacy regulation in Brazil and Google phasing out support for third-party cookies in Chrome.


How will SPO affect the LATAM programmatic market in 2020?

PZ: Rubicon Project has recently taken an active role in educating partners about SPO. The more we talk about it, the more we generate awareness from both sides about the benefits of optimizing the supply path. 

Advertising in LATAM is not fully automated yet, so many buyers still rely on resellers and intermediaries, especially in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. These partners can sometimes capture more demand than the publishers generate themselves, so SPO hasn’t been a hot topic until very recently.

In 2019, we started to see more interest from buyers in streamlining the supply path. When we hosted our Executive Exchange in São Paulo, the session on SPO was well attended, and the conversation was lively. 

SJ: In Brazil, buyers are more aware of SPO. People have been thinking about it for the past few years, but they are just starting to take steps towards evaluating their partnerships. Brands have begun asking for it, and agencies and publishers are becoming more receptive. I think we will see a lot more SPO in 2020. 


What emerging formats will trend in 2020?

PZ: Both video and audio are exploding, and have dominated PMPs. Spotify, which offers both, grew tremendously last year; it’s become one of our largest partners in LATAM. 

SJ: Video growth is huge, and also programmatic guaranteed (PG) — mostly due to Brazil, where video is typically transacted via PG.

PZ: Although we work with most of the broadcasters in the region, there are still very few connected TV (CTV) publishers in LATAM, and not much inventory available. But we have started a lot of conversations around CTV, and we’ve done some testing. Interest seems to be growing from both buyers and sellers.

SJ: Out of home is thriving. It’s one of the biggest markets in Brazil, and more publishers are expected on the exchange in 2020. Our partner Elemidia — with screens in elevators, offices, residential buildings and malls — has 20,000 screens in Brazil and reaches more than 25M people per week. It’s a huge player, and I anticipate DOOH growth outside of São Paulo in 2020. 


How is the LATAM market thinking about identity?

PZ: Privacy and identity are not huge concerns in LATAM at this stage, but new privacy legislation is coming to Brazil. 

SJ: The new law will be similar to GDPR in Europe, and it’s supposed to begin in August. I don’t know if publishers and buyers will be ready. After GDPR and CCPA — Brazil is at the forefront of consumer privacy. 

PZ: Elsewhere is LATAM, few people are talking about identity. Programmatic is a much smaller piece of the market, and, culturally, Latin American countries have not been as concerned about data privacy. Consumers seem more focused on economic growth. 


What will influence buyer strategy in 2020?

PZ: PG and PMPs are used a lot in LATAM, and will remain essential. PMPs are popular with buyers in the region, since it’s often the easiest way to connect with top publishers. And PG is the preferred channel for video buys. LATAM represents a large part of Rubicon Project’s global PG traffic.


What other programmatic trends will stand out in LATAM?

PZ: The US Hispanic market is trending, and we are delivering more and more US audiences to US brands through our LATAM publishers. According to eMarketer, the US Hispanic population is big, at some 60 million, and represents $1.5 trillion in buying power. Many companies want to target US Hispanic users, and one place to reach Spanish-speaking audiences is through LATAM publishers. Many US agencies are buying US audiences on LATAM sites. LATAM publishers are making significant revenue from these transactions, even though they involve a smaller percentage of traffic.

SJ: For Brazil, Digital Out of Home (DOOH) will continue as a big trend in 2020, and PG will also grow. 

PZ: Television still dominates LATAM in general, so it’s been difficult for programmatic to gain market share quickly. A lot also depends on the economy, as many LATAM countries are dealing with recession and inflation. But I predict programmatic will grow in 2020.

I also foresee a market for CTV emerging, even though one doesn’t really exist yet in LATAM. Which is obviously an opportunity. For instance, nobody in LATAM was transacting DOOH until we started working with a key publisher. We created a market that didn’t exist, and we have the opportunity to do the same with CTV. 

Because LATAM is TV-focused, CTV is the next logical step. It’s a huge opportunity for 2020 and beyond.

To learn more about Programmatic in LATAM, reach out to us at

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