DANA POINT, CA: Brands are effectively leaving billions of dollars "on the table" as they struggle to master the demands of the new digital marketing ecosystem, according to a leading executive.

Bob Liodice, president/ceo of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), discussed this topic while speaking at the organisation's 2014 Digital & Social Media Conference.

Technology, he asserted has "given us so much" as an industry, but has simultaneously created a welter of issues that urgently need to be addressed.

"We're leaving money on the table. And that pile of money that we're leaving on the table is growing even worse," said Liodice. (For more, including results of an ANA/Forrester study, read Warc's exclusive report: ANA tracks dollar drain in marketing technology.)

"If we don't arrest this value erosion, it's going to undercut all of the gains that we've made."

Attempts to place a dollar value on the losses being accrued vary, but some initial estimates peg this total as falling between $7.5bn and $15bn. "Billions and billions of dollars are not necessarily working on our behalf," said Liodice.

The challenges facing brands are manifold, and range from ad-supported piracy to advertising clutter and non-viewable ads.

Sellers, content creators, associations, buyers and exchanges have also contributed to making the trading environment very complex to navigate.

Among the main results is a profound lack of transparency about where advertising expenditure is ultimately directed, and a large number of intermediaries siphoning off funds during the digital marketing process.

"Like no other time before, marketers are genuinely concerned that their dollars are not necessarily getting to be placed as media," said Liodice.

"And they don't totally get what's going on out there, because the world is exploding, particularly within the media supply chain."

Data sourced from Warc