ANA's Guide To More Efficient Programmatic Buying

Asserting that many marketers still know very little about the process, The Association of National Advertisers today introduced a new guide designed to help CMOs streamline their programmatic media buying efforts by removing waste and inefficiencies and maximizing ROI. 

The ANA said the recommendations in the guide, titled, The CMO’s Guide to Programmatic Transparency could generate $8 billion to $16 billion globally in savings each year. 

“It has been estimated that for every dollar spent in programmatic channels, less than half goes to showing digital ads,” the guide states. “It has been estimated that 40 to 65 percent of every dollar spent programmatically goes to the publisher; the balance is spent on the services, technology, and data that power programmatic buying.” 

“Without visibility into all the cost drivers of a programmatic campaign, advertisers lack the data to make informed decisions on the value of each technology and service offering,” the guide asserts. 



Among the recommendations, per the guide, is that marketers must learn in detail who they are working with and what they are paying for throughout the programmatic buying process. They must also understand the benefits of their specific programmatic buys and how to optimize of each technology utilized in the process. 

The guidelines were created by the ANA’s CMO Global Growth Council and assembled by more than 30 contributors and partners. 

Further recommendations include: 

  • Gather all existing bills associated with the media supply chain.
  • Break down the expenses to the most granular level possible, aligning the bill items to the programmatic cost items.
  • Reach out to suppliers to understand the line items that are not broken down to a granular level.
  • Create a process to get access to this data on an ongoing basis.
  • Make formal requests for the data that is not broken down.
  • Prioritize the things that can be addressed first, such as agency and platform fees.
  • Establish a process for tracking all progress. 

 “Most companies are paying more than they have to for their media supply chain,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “This is due to factors such as the rapid development of programmatic ad buying, a lack of transparency, the overlap of many providers and services, and the complexity of the process itself. This guide will help marketers overcome those obstacles and significantly reduce their programmatic costs.” 

The ANA noted that the new guide is separate an ongoing ANA study of the programmatic media buying system that was announced in December. That probe is being conducted by PwC, Kroll, and TAG TrustNet and is focused on how advertisers can eliminate waste throughout the programmatic marketplace and supply chain. It is expected to be completed in 2023. The two initiatives are complementary projects that are part of a continuing effort by the ANA to improve programmatic advertising for marketers. 

The new guide can be accessed here.



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