$Billions of Ad Waste
Let’s do some quick math – what’s 23% of $88 billion? Because that’s how much money the ANA estimates is wasted every year on programmatic ad spending, according to a report released this week. The words the Wall Street Journal used were “rife with waste.” The report said that 15% of ad spending went to fake news/conspiracy theory sites, or spam links. Coincidentally, this week I attended a data & analytics committee meeting of the ANA. Those peers who measure and model ad investments are trying really, really hard to be respectful to those buying teams focused on vanity metrics like clicks, and to be really, really respectful to those procurement teams focused on CPMs. But the thing being discussed by those who measure and model ad investments is that garbage in equals garbage out. Sites made for advertising, i.e. click-bait sites, create a lot of clicks (also a lot of carbon, but that’s another issue for another day). While click-y sites may initially seem efficient, upon careful evaluation, they don’t drive business outcomes. Our agency has taken a position on this phenomenon, continually eliminating bad/bot actors from programmatic buys, leaning into contextual placements, pushing for first-party data and quality, deterministic data partners. We call this approach, the RightSideofRelevance™. It’s not easy doing the “right” thing. It takes effort to sell through higher CPMs, to monitor, edit and optimize site lists manually and frequently, to negotiate premium placements. But we’ve seen the business impact it ultimately delivers, which makes the work that much more rewarding.
“Advertisers need to better balance their pursuit of low-cost inventory in programmatic with ad quality – meaning viewable, fraud free and brand safe” – ANA.
Handy Google Competitive Tool
A few months ago Google quietly released an ads “transparency” tool, which you may prefer to think of as a competitive intelligence tool. Google will show advertiser information, such as the name, location and the ads the marketer has served over a certain period of time for all advertisers serving ads on Google platforms. (Including search and YouTube).