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Programmatic Ad Impressions Are Lower Quality Than Direct-Sold Impressions

Business Insider analyzes a Q1 Integral Ad Science report finding that "overall, programmatic display and video ads – ads that are sold through automated channels – garnered lower quality ads impressions than ads bought and sold through a direct relationship with a publisher." The study measures the quality of an ad impression based on several factors: viewability, ad fraud, and brand risk (the probability of an ad being placed on a webpage that is misaligned and/or damaging to the image of the brand being advertised). One finding:"Direct-sold display ads boast viewability rates that are nearly 10% higher than programmatic display ads. Programmatic display ads posted a viewability rate of 50.1%, compared to publisher direct with 59%, in Q1 2016. This is largely unsurprising because brands, agencies, and publishers retain greater control over where and when their ads are placed when they sell these ads directly. In contrast, programmatic ads are executed in an automated fashion, and are therefore vulnerable to being haphazardly placed in lower quality inventory, or being inaccurately targeted to disinterested consumers.

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