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Programmatic market a 'mess' with half of money still not reaching publishers

Campaign 05 May 2020 03:59

The sheer scale of lost adspend, disorganisation and murkiness in the £2bn programmatic advertising supply chain has been laid bare in a first-of-its-kind report by trade body ISBA and auditors at PwC. 

The advertiser-funded ISBA Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study found that only a fraction (12%) of 267 million ad impressions, paid for by brands to be served on publishers’ websites, could be accounted for or "matched".

The rest could not be mapped due to low data quality, analysts from PwC found, citing huge difficulties in getting like-for-like data from various players in the ecosystem.

From that fraction of ads that were matched, PwC found that, on average, nearly one in six (15%) of advertising pounds spent on these ads are being lost in the system. This "unknown delta" represents money that is spent on programmatic ads but can’t be found to have been delivered as an ad that an internet user has actually viewed. 

Meanwhile, just over half (51%) of spend is received by publishers, with the remainder going towards various fees charged by demand side platforms and supply side platforms. 

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