Programmatic advertising: ask questions and take action

Programmatic advertising: ask questions and take action

Buyers and advertisers need to proactively close the information gap in programmatic advertising so they can take action and improve performance.

Opaque, confusing, and non-transparent. Those are all words used to characterize programmatic advertising.

According to a new ANA report, ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study: Complete Report, only 36 cents or less of every dollar that enters a DSP effectively reaches the consumer. The key conclusion of the study: there is some $22bn in efficiency gains available to the client-side marketer community.

The report talks a lot about information asymmetry — an imbalance in the nature and quality of information possessed by different parties in a transaction. Within the programmatic supply chain there are strong characteristics of information asymmetry in cases where sellers typically have more or better information than buyers about the quality of media inventory being sold in auctions.

If buyers are unable to properly evaluate the price of effective programmatic inventory and audiences, they tend to overpay. The study identified information asymmetry as “a roadblock that makes transparency difficult to achieve and, instead, serves to perpetuate a system that is opaque, confusing, and potentially inefficient.”

Buyers need to understand the dynamic of information asymmetry in programmatic advertising and take steps to close the information gap.

Nick Manning: the ANA Programmatic Study exposes a ‘car boot sale’ market

Advertisers should have chief media officers

Advertisers must be curious and proactive. They need to be responsible for more active stewardship of their media investments.

Media is often the largest marketing expenditure at most companies. Advertisers need to “lean in” and be more active stewards of their media investments rather than delegating that entirely to their agencies.

Advertisers should appoint a chief media officer (either in title or function) who should take responsibility for the internal media management and governance processes that deliver performance, media accountability, and transparency throughout the programmatic media supply chain.

Advertisers who outsource their media management without active internal stewardship do so at their own risk. ANA first made the chief media officer recommendation seven years ago when we released our media transparency report, and that role is now more important than ever.

What should be asked of programmatic advertising?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The report concludes with 15 questions to ask to improve performance:

How many websites are being used for an average campaign?

How much of my media activity is on “Made for Advertising” (MFA) sites?

Are you using inclusion lists?

Is context important?

When did you last update your media agency contract?

Should direct contracts with primary supply chain intermediaries be considered — DSPs, ad verification, SSPs?

Do you have a strategy for SSP optimization?

Do you have too much focus on “cheap CPM” deals?

When is your agency acting as a principal and what are the trade-offs of that for me?Are your Private Marketplace (PMP) deals worth the premium and should you consider allocating more budget to Open Marketplace (OMP)?

Do you have a process in place to accurately measure ad quality and price in order to assess value?

Do you know how yourcampaigns perform on measurability, viewability, and IVT?

Should you be leveraging log-level data?

Do you know the sustainability impact of my programmatic activity and are you taking steps to reduce carbon emissions?

Are you staffed appropriately internally (on the client side) to be active stewards of your media investments?

Knowledge is power. With programmatic media, data drives knowledge and is the enabler that allows marketers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their campaigns. Access to data, pulling insights from data, and then acting on those insights provides a pathway for marketers to optimize their programmatic media investments.

Some $22bn in efficiency gains are there for the taking. Ask the questions above. Push your media decision makers and advisors for answers. Take action – even if just one question or issue at a time. And then watch your programmatic media performance improve!

Bill Duggan is group EVP for the ANA.


Media Jobs