It’s no secret; the digital advertising industry has a transparency problem.
In March of 2017, The Guardian pulled all digital advertising from Google and YouTube after discovering their ads had been placed next to extremist content.
Just six days later, AT&T and Verizon suspended online advertising campaigns after realizing their ads had been placed before hate videos on YouTube. And on top of that, Procter & Gamble reportedly cut their digital ad spend by $200 million in 2017, following brand safety concerns surrounding questionable placement practices.
It’s no wonder that big brands are revisiting their strategies, and pressuring platforms and agencies alike to improve transparency in online advertising. Read on to discover the pitfalls your brand faces with transparency in programmatic—and how Pathmatics can increase visibility into how your ads are placed.
A Quick Overview: Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising is a more advanced way of buying and selling online ad space for brands, agencies and media buyers. The system uses artificial intelligence to find the best place to advertise, for the best deal.
Let’s say you want to improve and optimize the budget of your digital ad campaigns. To reduce the manual work, programmatic advertising is a good place to start.
First, you need to specify a budget and select a demand-side platform (DSP) to connect to an online marketplace known as an ad exchange. Here, the system automatically bids on online spaces provided by supply-side platforms (SSP). Once the DSP finds a space that best fits your demands, your ad is instantly published on the site.
Sounds ideal, right? While programmatic advertising has major benefits, there is a downside to be aware of.
Top Transparency Concerns
This automated transaction happens in a few milliseconds and is designed to make the digital ad buying process more efficient. However, there are three areas of concern that have spurred a ton of backlash among brands in the past few years.
- Ad Fraud: Around 50% of all online activity is fraudulent. Ad fraud occurs when invalid traffic from bots, rather than humans, clicks or views online advertisements. Programmatic technology does not identify fraudulent traffic, resulting in wasted money due to inflated performance numbers.
- Viewability: The average internet user is supplied over 1,700 banner ads a month, but only half of those ads are actually viewed. Many users won’t ever see an ad because it’s either poorly placed at the bottom of a page, or won’t load due to slow bandwidth and network issues.
- Brand Safety: As noted earlier, brands are extremely concerned with their ad being associated with unfavorable content. Programmatic advertising doesn’t factor in the subject of the content on site. It looks for the most efficient space to advertise a brand’s message. To prevent ad placement near subjective material, big brands have invested in algorithms to identify appropriate channels to advertise on.
How Pathmatics Can Help
Fortunately, you don’t need to invest millions of dollars into developing algorithms and programs that will ensure brand safety. Pathmatics can solve your transparency issues through two unique features:
- Top Sites Report: Whether it’s direct, indirect, or both, you can use Pathmatics to see the devices and sites your ad appears on, the total spend to advertise on that site, and total impressions generated.
- Pathmatics AdRoutes: This free Google Chrome extension allows users to discover real-time digital ad information for advertisers and publishers on the web. You can learn about who your brand is buying impressions from, who you’re selling impressions to, how they are buying and selling them, and the top sites for your brand.
Ad intelligence tools, like Pathmatics, allow brands to improve transparency in the opaque world of digital advertising. Avoid the concerns surrounding digital ad buying, and consider using Pathmatics to ensure repeat business with transparent purchase channel insights.