Indonesia’s Digital Revolution: Programmatic is at the Core of Its Transformation

November 21, 2022 9:52 am Published by


SPOKESPERSON: Yogesh Sehgal, Platform Partnerships Director APAC 

Indonesia is not only the fourth largest country by population, it also has one of the youngest populations in Asia, driving growth in mobile internet consumption. Unlike some emerging markets, Indonesian locals bypassed desktop and leapfrogged to smartphones, accelerating mobile adoption, and driving the e-commerce boom to the level it’s at today.

Thanks to smartphone accessibility, digital advertising exposure via mobile has skyrocketed, making Indonesia one of the fastest-growing advertising markets in Southeast Asia, according to Magna. Programmatic advertising is on a steady trajectory to reap the benefits, and will represent 53% of the total advertising budget by 2025.

As rapid digitisation of the Indonesian economy continues to boost content accessibility, connected devices are beginning to change the role of marketing. However, technical capabilities are yet to catch up with the ever-evolving needs of the Indonesian consumer to create a better viewing experience across digital devices.

This presents an entirely new challenge for media owners and agencies. It’s one that must be overcome in order to connect with consumers through their preferred device and deliver a premium digital experience that harnesses the true power of programmatic.


Changing consumer habits lead to the rise of mobile and smart TVs

Lockdowns and limited travel opportunities accelerated the adoption of mobile and smart TV devices across the population, but Indonesians got their first taste of the internet via mobile many years ago.   

Nonetheless, 2021 was a record-breaking year. According to a recent study by, 176 million Indonesians own a smartphone and consume an average of 5.4 hours of content per day, compared to India consuming 4.7 hours and Singapore at 4.5 hours.  This is significantly higher than the US and UK which sit at 2 hours and 55 minutes, and 2 hours and 34 minutes respectively.

In 2021, consumers spent $170 billion on apps which is a 19% increase compared to 2020. As a result, media buyers have been quick to leverage the reach and engagement that mobile—and in particular mobile apps—can offer, spending 23% more on mobile ads despite concerns around addressability.

Though the pandemic wasn’t the reason for Indonesia’s surge in mobile adoption, it was a catalyst for making connected TV (CTV) mainstream.

CTV is in a state of hypergrowth with international content platforms such as Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, YouTube, and local brands like Mola, seeing huge success. Interestingly, the main device used for content streaming in Indonesia is currently mobile, closely followed by CTV, but it wouldn’t be surprising if CTV surpassed mobile as the leading device in the very near future.

A recent study uncovered that audiences are willing to see ads in exchange for free streaming video. This means that the quality, context, and relevancy of ads will become key in increasing engagement.

The lack of reliable technological infrastructure means media owners and agencies still face the issue of delivering a premium experience to consumers across digital devices. And without a common identifier to stitch experiences together across video environments, scale is impacted by slow load times, and inefficient ad delivery.


Restoring consumer trust to capitalise on the programmatic opportunity
Indonesia’s digital economy is the largest and fastest-growing in the Southeast Asian region, expected to reach $130 billion by 2025. Performance-oriented ad tech are all playing a role in this development, bolstering the need for tighter privacy regulation, and the introduction of ​​Indonesian data protection laws.

The current state of consumer trust in digital technology shows that 67% of consumers think they have little to no control over how their data is used. The data protection bill, comes amid wider regional efforts by Southeast Asian governments to demand action from global tech giants on content regulation and tax policy. This is a step in the right direction to restoring consumer trust in digital advertising because without its restoration, an addressable post-cookie ecosystem doesn’t exist.

The responsibility lies on all players to educate consumers about the value exchange, and how the open internet is funded to ensure the longevity of our industry.

As a young population with a mobile-first mentality, programmatic growth in Indonesia will come from continuing to connect with consumers across their preferred devices. Programmatic technology must continue to evolve in order to meet these needs, and provide experiences that are cohesive, no matter the screen on which they’re presented.



  1. Magna Global Advertising Forecasts June 2021
  2. Data ai, State of Mobile Report
  3. Google, trend watch Indonesia


About Index Exchange

Index Exchange is a global advertising marketplace enabling media owners to grow revenue by helping marketers reach consumers on any screen, through any format. Headquartered in Toronto, Index has nearly 20 years of experience accelerating the evolution of ad technology for the world’s leading experience makers. To learn more, visit or @indexexchange.

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