GLOBAL: Major global brands are consolidating their roster of ad serving companies as part of their ongoing efforts to transform their marketing for the digital age, a new report has said.

The findings come from a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Ebiquity and were based on responses from 30 companies in 14 sectors with a total global media spend of more than $30bn.

As well as working with fewer partners – an average of three compared to 4.5 in a similar study in 2014 – the survey indicated that global marketers are looking to simplify arrangements, and improve reporting and monitoring alongside the ability to negotiate better pricing.

This development is in part a consequence of the evolution and growth of most ad serving companies' geographical footprint: it's now possible for marketers to obtain near global coverage with fewer suppliers.

That not only makes their lives simpler, but also gives them an opportunity to take more control and reduce costs. One aspect of this has been the increased use of tools to provide frequency and sequencing control, viewability and verification, programmatic integrations and dynamic creative optimisation: these were deployed by at least 60% of respondents.

But since the relationship or contract with ad servers was owned and operated by media agencies in 70% of cases, some loss of control and visibility on pricing is inevitable.

Some 30% of respondents had a direct relationship with an ad server but allowed the agency to operate this, while a further 13% owned and operated the relationship themselves (the figures total more than 100% because brands can use multiple models even in the same market).

"Getting better control of, and access to, ad serving offers opportunities to improve media performance and reporting," said Matt Green, Global Media & Digital Marketing Lead at the WFA.

"The range in costs associated with ad serving indicates that this is also one area of media transformation where brands can seek competitive advantage," he added.

Data sourced from WFA; additional content by Warc staff