Brand Experience

ANA Report Reveals Challenges and Solutions in Programmatic Advertising

07 July, 2023

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), a leading trade association in the US advertising industry, recently unveiled its comprehensive report on the current landscape of “open web” programmatic media buying and advertising. This form of advertising, which does not include search engine and ‘walled garden’ advertising, is a significant component of brands’ digital media expenditure, estimated to account for about 11% of total global media spend in 2022.

The report’s primary objective is to assist brands in optimizing their programmatic advertising investments. To compile this report, the ANA conducted interviews with brands, agencies, and ad verification providers.

One of the critical findings of the report is the existence of substantial information imbalances. The sellers of ad space usually have superior information about the quality of ad space, such as inventory type and audience reach, than the buyers. This lack of transparency often leads to buyers overpaying due to their inability to access accurate pricing and reach information.

Another issue highlighted in the report is the limited access to data for ad service buyers. These buyers often find it challenging to verify the data provided by sellers, largely relying on agencies and ad verification suppliers for this data. The intricate contracting structures within the programmatic supply chain further complicate data verification.

The report also revealed that nearly 15% of all programmatic spend ends up on clickbait websites, associating brands with low-quality content and intrusive ads – a significant concern for brand owners.

To tackle these challenges, the ANA recommends several strategies. Brands need to adopt a more “hands-on” approach rather than entirely delegating responsibilities to agencies. Given that programmatic ads typically represent a brand’s most significant advertising expenditure, it is imperative for brands to ensure agencies are acting in their best interest.

Moreover, brands should request their agencies to procure and provide access rights to data held by their supply chain partners. This will enable brands to verify and comprehend where their programmatic spend is going.

The report also advises brands not to be swayed solely by cost. Higher-cost ad inventory often translates into more valuable, fraud-free, and brand-safe ad placements. Brands should work closely with their agencies to understand the quality of placements they are getting for their payments.

Brands should also establish detailed “inclusion” and “exclusion” lists specifying sites where their ads cannot be placed (like adult sites) and those where they prefer their ads to be placed. Additionally, brands should demand clarity on viewability, anti-fraud, and brand safety metrics from their agencies.

While this report is preliminary and a more comprehensive one is expected soon, it provides valuable insights for all brands operating digitally, regardless of geographical location.

For instance, gym marketing could benefit immensely from these findings. By applying these recommendations, gyms can optimize their programmatic advertising investments to attract more gym members and enhance gym lead generation. Facebook Ads could be a useful tool in this regard, particularly if gyms can ensure transparency and quality in their ad placements.

In conclusion, while not all inventory and impressions are created equal, it’s crucial for brands to understand that not all ‘cheap’ inventory equates to ‘quality’ inventory.

This article provides a general overview of the subject matter. For advice tailored to your specific circumstances, it’s recommended to seek expert guidance.