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Quality issues in the programmatic marketplace are a problem across the board. In April 2015 polling by ExchangeWire in association with OpenX, 94% of digital marketing professionals worldwide—from ad tech providers, agencies, brands, data/measurement/analytics providers, publishers/media owners, trading desks and more—said programmatic marketplace quality was a very or somewhat serious issue.
May 2015 polling by Digiday for Chango and Rubicon Project found that all of the leading obstacles to programmatic advertising cited by digital marketers in North America and the UK related to marketplace quality issues. Nearly six in 10 of respondents cited fraud as a top hurdle to buying ads programmatically, and the same percentage pointed to site quality and brand safety concerns. Fully 56% faced obstacles related to viewability, and 46% said the same about waste, or ads that end up targeted to the wrong demographic.
Similarly, when May 2015 polling by Strata asked US ad agency professionals their biggest fears about using programmatic buying, inventory transparency and inventory quality were each cited by nearly 50%.
ExchangeWire found that programmatic marketplace quality was a bigger problem for desktop than mobile. More than nine in 10 digital marketing professionals said marketplace quality in desktop display advertising was an issue. Data/measurement/analytics providers and publishers/media owners were the most likely to view this as a serious issue, with every respondent from both groups saying so. With the exception of brand respondents, 89% or more from each company type said the significance of marketplace quality in desktop display was an issue.
Meanwhile, a lower—but still high—84% of respondents said programmatic marketplace quality was an issue in mobile display advertising. Data/measurement/analytics providers led the pack once again, and agencies and trading desks also ranked near the top by this metric, with about nine in 10 respondents each. Rates from publishers/media owners, brands and ad tech providers were below average.
Nine in 10 digital marketers in the Chango and Rubicon study intended to increase programmatic’s share of digital ad spending somewhat (39%) or significantly (51%) by the end of 2016. And ExchangeWire found that overcoming programmatic marketplace quality issues could boost spending even more. Fully 84% of digital marketing professionals believed that media buyers would invest more in programmatic advertising if marketplace quality were no longer an issue.
Who should deal with the problem? ExchangeWire respondents agreed that both sides needed to take responsibility for programmatic marketplace quality. Publishers as well as supply-side platforms and exchanges were each cited by 98% of respondents, while 91% pointed to demand-side platforms. Fully 85% also believed governing and trade bodies should take part.
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