The World Federation of Advertisers estimates that for every dollar traded programmatically, only 40 cents make it to the publisher. The value of working media is likely lower, as this scenario does not factor in ad fraud; the true figure could be closer to 28 cents. In his book Mad Men, Bob Hoffman expands on the idea by factoring in both ad viewability and noticeability, further eroding the dollar to just three cents.
The WFA believe some 55% of investment goes towards what some have dubbed the “tech tax”. WARC drew a consensus from media buyers, and while the rate of tech tax varied between markets, agencies and stacks, the outcome broadly aligned with the WFA estimates.
Using MAGNA Global’s estimate of $25.4bn in publisher revenue from programmatic display ads worldwide last year, the tech tax would equate to $34.9bn. The true figure will be closer to $30bn, as platforms where the tech is integrated (such as YouTube’s Trueview) cloud the calculation.
After agency fees, of the $63.4bn in estimated programmatic advertiser spend last year, only $17.8bn made it to the ‘working media’ level when assuming a 30% fraud rate.
This Data Point was drawn from March's Global Ad Trends report, which focuses on threats to the digital advertising ecosystem.