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​Programmatic grows despite concerns

News, 04 March 2016

NEW YORK: The number of advertisers using programmatic buying has doubled in the last two years, but significant concerns remain around transparency and fraud, according to a new study.

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) surveyed 128 of its members in partnership with Forrester, the research firm.

And they reported that the proportion of respondents involved in programmatic ad buying in the last year stood at 79%, compared with the score of 35% registered in an equivalent poll from 2014.

Display and video ads – on the desktop and mobile web alike – saw the greatest amount of activity in this space. Over the coming year, social video and display are pegged to enjoy growth in programmatic, with similar optimism around mobile video and TV.

Working alongside the perceived advantages of enhanced targeting and real-time optimisation, however, was the fact that almost 70% of contributors expressed anxiety about bot fraud.

Transparency also remains a point of contention, both with regard to technical matters like inventory and data, as well as when discussing the thorny subject of agency rebates.

"While programmatic buying indeed offers benefits, it suffers from complexity and a lack of transparency," Bob Liodice, President/CEO of the ANA, asserted.

"And that is wasteful. The industry – and marketers, in particular – would greatly benefit from a rethink of the entire digital supply chain."

Marketers are, in many cases, taking active steps to tackle these concerns: fully 62% have requested "detailed campaign guidelines and reporting" from agencies, and 51% have rigorous blacklists in place.

Another 45% utilised "whitelists", while 42% had acquired inventory via private marketplaces run by media owners. Exactly 40% added provisions to insertion orders to boost transparency.

Perhaps most comprehensive of all was the choice by 31% of participants to expand in-house capabilities in order to oversee and manage programmatic ad buying.

Data sourced from Association of National Advertisers; additional content by Warc staff