LONDON: One of several myths surrounding programmatic advertising is the idea that there is no transparency, according to an industry figure who suggested advertisers were using this argument to cover up their own lack of knowledge.

Speaking this week at Warc's Measuring Advertising Performance conference (Warc subscribers can view a report of day one here), Will King, marketing director at Orange Digital's programmatic trading platform Unanimis, claimed that far too often people were using transparency as a "proxy" for various misunderstandings.

So when they said of programmatic that "I don't know how much I paid", or "I don't know where it went" or even "I don't know who I paid" the problem existed primarily with them rather than the platform itself, King said.

"There is no reason in the world why your programmatic campaign should not be as crystal clear as every other campaign that you run," he declared.

People needed to be braver with their partners, he suggested. If they didn't know how much they had paid for an ad, for example, that was a problem with the ad sales team. And if they didn't know where it ran, that was a problem for the ad serving technology in the places they were buying.

Among the other shibboleths given the King treatment was the idea that programmatic was all about long-tail inventory.

The inventory was the same as it had always been, he said, and it was the responsibility of the advertiser or agency to assess its quality. "Put some value into the buying and selling process," he urged.

On that point, he stressed the human aspect involved. Long-term programmatic was going to replace the "heavy lifting" involved in campaigns, but there would always remain the need for human input for creation and analysis.

King was also at pains to explain that programmatic was not the same as real-time bidding (RTB). An advertiser could buy programmatic direct from a publisher he pointed out. Real-time bidding was an altogether different beast.

Data sourced from Warc