ANA Blasts 'Mind-Numbing' Programmatic Marketplace, Announces RFP To Study It

Asserting that the programmatic advertising marketplace is “riddled with material issues including thin transparency, fractured accountability, and mind-numbing complexity,” the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) this morning announced a request-for-proposal for a consultant to study and come up with recommendations for improving it.

The ANA estimates global programmatic ad spending is “on track to exceed $200 billion,” but that “only 40% to 60% of digital dollars invested by advertisers find their way to publishers” due to the so-called “ad tax” of ad-tech middlemen taking a variety of cuts that ostensibly enable or add value to programmatic advertising buys.

“Marketers do not have a fully transparent line of sight into their programmatic supply chains,” ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a statement announcing the RFP, adding: “The lack of full transparency for ad delivery and ad quality is diminishing marketers’ ability to fully optimize investments and drive greater business growth. We believe this lack of transparency is costing advertisers billions of dollars in waste.”



The ANA said the project is being done with support from international counterparts, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the World Federation of Advertisers, and that the explicit goals of the study are:

  • To drive business and brand growth through the elimination of wasteful and unproductive spending.

  • To make the digital media supply chain understandable, highly transparent, and analytically rich.

  • Institute corrective solutions and industry standards that have long-term sustainability.

  • To determine whether industry oversight bodies are needed to ensure the integrity of the programmatic ecosystem.

  • To improve marketers’ decision-making.

The RFP form can be downloaded here, and submissions are due by early June. 

A shortlist of candidates will later be invited to make formal presentations, and the project will be assigned over the summer when fieldwork on the study will begin. No release of publication date was disclosed.

5 comments about "ANA Blasts 'Mind-Numbing' Programmatic Marketplace, Announces RFP To Study It".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, April 29, 2021 at 11:06 a.m.

    A simple solution is to do more direct deals and get more value and integrations vs. eyeballs that often lack contextual relevance.

    There was a time when brands and agencies built relationships with publishers and worked on cool content and activations.  Now publishers are seen as a utility and the industry suffers in more ways than one.

    Quality is given up for efficiency which really doesn't make sense when it comes to serving an ad message.

  2. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, April 29, 2021 at 12:19 p.m.

    Not surprised he left out the most egregious problem which is that anywhere from 40-60% of all ostensible impressions are fraudulent bots. The ANA is criminally complicit in this and has been for past ~5+years. This is an absolute bullshit performative initiative. Just another PR feint in their ongoing attempt to allow their member marketers to be fleeced for hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

  3. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC replied, April 29, 2021 at 9:38 p.m.

    While I don't disagree that there is a fraudlent bot problem, there is a much bigger problem with problem with the well known ad distributors.  Example I have screenshots of the same banner showing up 4 times with the same distributor at the same time. When this happens, as a publisher, am I getting credited for all 4 views, one view or none at the end of the month rebalancing?  Is the advertiser, being charged for all 4 views for the same ad? The PR story has been bots is the problem or most of the problem. I have seen otherwise.

  4. Lana McGilvray from Purpose Worldwide, April 30, 2021 at 9:24 p.m.

    Agree. Systems like NYIAX already solve for much of this and have been leading the way for years. 

  5. Jonathan Sims from Jsims Analytics, May 2, 2021 at 7:59 a.m.

    Programmatic or "Problematic?"

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