0Chapter 3/12 from our Demystifying Digital Guide. 


What’s keeping marketers awake?
Programmatic media can make everything seem very complicated in terms of tracking media delivery and performance. According to eMarketer, in 2015 the global programmatic market was worth $14.2bn. By 2019 it’s predicted to be worth $36.8bn.

What’s the issue?
Increasing volumes of media – particularly digital, but increasingly TV and other channels – are being traded programmatically. But there are concerns that the algorithms powering demand-side platforms and ad servers – combined with the large number of links in the trading ecosystem – are eroding value and delivering poorly targeted, suboptimal returns for advertisers. The World Federation of Advertisers estimates 60% of ad spend is effectively lost by the time it reaches publishers – and that’s before considering the issues of both non-human traffic and viewability.


1. What is programmatic doing for my brand currently?

2. Is the third-party data I acquire improving my targeting and therefore my performance?

3. What am I really paying for data?

4. How do I achieve greater transparency around programmatic?

5. Am I paying excessive mark-ups to the parties involved, and am I receiving any rebates or other trading incentives? Am I effectively paying for media inventory which is free at the original point of purchase?

6. Should I cut out the middlemen and develop direct relationships with the major platforms, particularly Facebook and Google?

7. What is my agency includING in the catch-all (but non-auditable) category of ‘inventory media’?

What do our experts recommend marketers should do to address this?
Since many advertisers – including the very biggest – have rushed into programmatic as it has developed in recent years, the best starting point is a diagnostic assessment of current programmatic advertising activity. This assessment should consider business objectives, current ad tech and data being used, baseline programmatic campaign delivery, and understanding how KPIs are set and performance is measured. If deemed to be appropriate, it can go on to appraise governance arrangements and the flow of money, analyze contract terms, and audit operational processes.

Based on the insights derived by programmatic media specialists from this assessment, advertisers can develop an informed priority roadmap to guide remedial action on those factors that most improve programmatic investment. These include data and technology, measurement and evaluation, partner selection and management, contracts and compliance, organization and operations, and learning and development.

Because of the pace of change in media trading in recent years, many advertisers have never stopped to review programmatic advertising. Analyzing where you are today and where you’d like to be can deliver significant cost savings, reduce wastage, deliver better targeting, increase viewability by real humans, improve ‘brand safety,’ and enhance media performance.

Programmatic is here to stay, with eMarketer estimating the global market to be worth almost $37bn by 2019. Analyzing the current and future state not only delivers better performance from programmatic spend, it can also improve trust between advertisers and their trading partners. It helps clients to become better, more knowledgeable digital marketers.

Gaëlle Simon-Drocourt, Head of Digital at Ebiquity France

What are the benefits of taking this approach?

  • Gaining control of programmatic buying in a transparent and rational way.
  • Reducing conflicts of interest by building meaningful relationships with tech and media partners.
  • Establishing an ad technology roadmap that successfully adapts to new market opportunities.
  • Improving the return on investment of programmatic media.

Our approach in summary
We enable advertisers to decide on the level of control they have over how they allocate, audit, and manage programmatic spend, vendors, data, and technology.

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