Commentary

How Can Marketers Avoid The Messy Supply Chain?

Much has been made of the mess that is the digital advertising supply chain. Forrester's recent finding that poor-quality ads cost U.S. marketers an estimated $7.4 billion is staggering to think about. Further, Forrester projected that money spent on low-quality or “no-quality” ads will increase to $10.9 billion by 2021.

The Forrester report on this topic, released in late March, acknowledges that if a marketer’s goal is to rack up the most conversions at the lowest possible cost per thousand, then ad fraud and viewability may well be low-level concerns. However, if the goal is to increase awareness and make engagement with consumers more meaningful, then the problems in the digital ad supply chain are a huge concern.

And are there really any marketers that don’t care about the amount of money they’re spending and, unbeknownst to them, wasting, on advertising? Don’t think so.

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The report pointed out that the true cost of advertising must be taken into account. Leading marketers support Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard’s rallying cry against waste and fraud, a lack of transparency, brand safety, and other problems that plague the digital ad industry and ad tech, in particular.

And Forrester pointed out that the “end of digital media’s wild days will be good news for premium publishers that invest in their content, in growing their quality audiences, and in the ad tech partnerships that facilitate honest brokerage of their valuable inventory.”  

Marketers, the report noted, are demanding standards that apply to all digital media, like those in television and print advertising. Forrester suggested this is an opportunity for publishers to get their ducks in a row.

The report suggests that marketers need to work more closely with their vendors to achieve more -- or any --transparency,  and they must ask for more information so they can make appropriate choices.

It sounds simple, but is it really that simple? Marketers can also press partners to follow industry standards. Many-ad tech vendors are now in a race to obtain accreditation by bodies like the Media Rating Council as well as align themselves with third-party verification firms  -- and marketers are looking for proof of these designations.

The report also mentions ESPN -- which, Forrester notes, doesn’t buy traffic and doesn’t sell through the open exchanges. In fact, 95% of the network’s programmatic activity is managed through private marketplaces. However, some industry watchers now question the quality of private marketplaces, yet another potentially thorny issue.

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