For Many Programmatic Buyers, Collecting Data Remains A Manual Task

Nearly half (42%) of programmatic advertisers regularly get data from exchanges through spreadsheet attachments, a highly manual approach that flies in the face of what exchanges were originally built for -- automation.

That figure comes from Metamarkets, a real-time analytics provider for programmatic advertisers. The company obviously has a horse in the race, so these statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt. But their research -- which included surveying over 30 “major” programmatic buyers -- does shed light on the practice of data collection in the programmatic world.

One of the world’s largest exchanges provides a dated spreadsheet that does not have adequate information about pricing and scale,” Metamarkets quotes an anonymous COO from a demand-side platform (DSP) as saying. “So to run on their platform, we have to take a ‘Fire-Ready-Aim’ approach.

To be clear, for the 42% of respondents that said they get data from exchanges via spreadsheets, that is not the only way they receive data, nor is it the most popular. About two-thirds receive exchange data from the exchanges’ reporting interfaces, and just over half receive data from their own company’s reporting interface. About one-in-four get data from SQL queries.

“On the most basic level, these responses reflect a lack of standardized reporting practices across the industry,” writes Metamarkets. “Buyers must cobble together a picture of the market from a variety of proprietary interfaces, spreadsheet attachments, and databases that require them to code their own queries."

As marketers expand across screens, their pools of data get larger. The more channels that need to be measured, the more processing power needed. Not everything is real real-time, but it’s getting closer.

Conversion Logic, the attribution firm that came out of beta just this week, says that its attribution reporting is done within one hour (and work is being done to make it faster). Alison Lohse, COO and co-founder of the company, claimed that made them about a week faster than anyone else.

Perhaps that’s a bit hyperbolic -- and I can’t substantiate that claim -- but there’s still a takeaway here: Marketers want data collection to be faster and more automated process.

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