“There’s so much good that’s associated with programmatic in being able to make much more intelligent, real-time, data-driven decisions, but the supply chain is complicated and messy and hard to penetrate and confusing for a lot of brands and their agencies.”
Those words were spoken by Joanna O’Connell, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, in her interview with Beet.TV on the issues around transparency and trust in our current digital media supply chain.
In July 2020, MediaMath commissioned a custom study executed by Forrester Consulting called “Confident Media Spending Requires A More Transparent And Addressable Supply Chain” which shows that of 220 advertisers surveyed, 55% cite challenges working across partner ecosystems and 48% say having less visibility into costs and fees is contributing to less transparency in the digital media supply chain today.
Watch more in the video with O’Connell below and download “Confident Media Spending Requires A More Transparent And Addressable Supply Chain” here.
Whether it’s zero-based budgeting or a focus on profitability, most advertisers are feeling the pressure to get the most value from their marketing investments—especially amidst current global events. But many advertisers have been unable to quantify the ROI of their digital ad spend. It’s an issue that has been independently validated in recent reports like ISBA’s “Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study,” which showed that 15% of advertising costs are unaccounted for. In July 2020, MediaMath commissioned a custom study executed by Forrester Consulting called “Confident Media Spending Requires A More Transparent And Addressable Supply Chain” which shows that only 33% of more than 220 advertisers surveyed say they can demonstrate and report the financial return on their programmatic media spend completely and accurately.
The reason many advertisers can’t tie their ad spend back to their business’s bottom line comes down to a murky digital media supply chain. A more well-lit ecosystem is critical to informing advertisers’ buying decisions. According to the Forrester Consulting study:
- 94 percent of marketers face executive scrutiny over how digital media spend is performing yet only 33 percent of marketers say they can demonstrate and report the financial return on their programmatic media spend completely and accurately.
- Over 70% of respondents find media accountability, transparency, addressability, and alignment across the media ecosystem partner interests important to their programmatic buying decisions.
- Marketers were most likely to say they lacked a fundamental understanding of the role intermediaries play in media buying today, which 39% cited as a top challenge.
- When it comes down to what is contributing to less transparency in the digital media supply chain today, 48% note having less visibility into costs and fees.
Download the full study here.
We created the SOURCE supply chain with 15 key industry partners to combat these very challenges. With better alignment of brand and publisher interests in MediaMath’s SOURCE supply chain, advertisers get more accurate ROI calculations and improved return on ad spend overall relative to legacy programmatic—127% increased ROAS for one B2C RETAILER—and 15%+ more efficiency over legacy programmatic execution. Our supply chain has modernized commercial terms that hold each partner contractually accountable for providing incremental value within the ad tech supply chain. And exclusive data-sharing with our SOURCE supply chain helps put more of every dollar to work.
Consumer behavior is shifting rapidly toward an all-digital expression. Many brands will seek to take advantage of this opportunity, but with so many changes happening in the world, what’s the best way to proceed in 2020? We think digital advertising on the open Web executed through more trustworthy, transparent pipes is the answer.
Understanding consumers has never been more critical for marketers. They have major concerns about ethical violations by social media platforms, and believe brands have a responsibility to ensure that both the content of their ads and the content adjacent to their ads are in line with their values. MediaMath commissioned a survey of 1,000 individuals through Dynata, and the results reinforce that it’s time for advertisers to revisit their spend and think about the kind of discourse and content they want to support with their ad dollars. See some of the key insights in our infographic below.
Global Head of Ecosystem, Jeremy Steinberg, joins Principal Analyst at eMarketer, Nicole Perrin, to discuss why accountability is still a challenge and how the supply chain can come together to create better, more mature programmatic markets.
“If you can create a rules-based environment that has a very simple principle that everybody can adopt and operate their business on what that will do is help marketers say, ‘I really like this content on this one website or app. It creates a great experience for consumers and drives great results for my brand.’ And that content owner, at the same time, will know through automated means the same information and can optimize their experiences for consumers.”
Earlier this week, Google announced it will phase out third-party cookies in its Chrome Web browser by 2022 to bring more stringent privacy standards across its online advertising platforms and tools.
Before we go down the rabbit hole, it’s important to define exactly what wasn’t announced this week: a unilateral motion by Google to end the third-party cookie without a replacement. Rather, Google has announced its intention to replace the cookie in the next two years with a set of technology standards that gives end users more control over their browsing experience and privacy. Those technology standards don’t yet exist, and Google is asking for engagement from the technology ecosystem to work together to provide a viable consumer- and competition-friendly alternative to the third-party cookie.
Said another way, this move doesn’t mean the end of consumer identifiers or the end of personalized advertising and the companies that enable it. It means embracing the ongoing change in our industry and moving away from obsolete technology towards more relevant identifiers, as evidenced in our collective embrace of mobile and CTV IDs. The world is increasingly omnichannel, and any holistic identity solution needs to care about the totality of media, not just a single channel.
To come up with the alternative to the third-party cookie, we—publishers, advertisers, the technology platforms that support both, and web developers—need to come together to work with Chrome on developing consumer-friendly, privacy-sensitive technology solutions that enable: 1) publishers to continue to monetize their content through advertising—which for many, remains >80% of revenues; 2) advertisers to continue to market to relevant audiences and measure the efficacy of their marketing message; and 3) consumers to be more deeply engaged in the value exchange of advertising for free, relevant content while having control over how their data is being used, having confidence that it is being used fairly and respectfully, and having the right to change and/or erase it at any time and ensure it isn’t being used without their consent. Being clear about the role of the consumer in the value exchange between advertisers and publishers is more critical than ever, as consumers continue to demand and deserve strong checks and balances when it comes to use of their data.
We don’t think these three things are in conflict—in fact, our top brands and agencies and their media partners are increasingly voting with their dollars on a supply chain that stands for these principles. We also think we’ll see a growing trend of publishers and advertisers working closely together on bidirectional data transfer solutions. And we fully support Google’s desire to collaborate in getting to a solution appropriate for all parties. It’s with this same spirit that we brought together over a dozen industry partners to launch SOURCE by MediaMath, through which we are building a new, rules-based model to enable digital advertising to operate with transparency and trust.
On MediaMath’s part, we’ve been working on technology solutions with our partners that leverage authenticated user signals, first-party identity solutions, bidirectional data transfer, greater use of contextual parameters, and more to either replace the hole created or reduce the burden on advertisers left by the eventual absence of third-party cookies. We’ve maintained open dialog with several privacy councils, the major federal and European data governance bodies, the major trade associations, and the browser vendors, and we look forward to getting deeply involved in the technical standards work that’s ahead of us. In addition, the identity work we are doing with partners like LiveRamp and Akamai is fundamentally built on addressing these issues.
An announcement without a complete solution in place puts the industry in a precarious and uncertain position. We’ve been spending a lot of time over the last week at CES and in other meetings discussing our plans for the future with many clients, and we imagine others are, too. Like GDPR before it, we expect this anxiety will accelerate further consolidation amongst those who don’t have the resources to heavily invest in response to this change. We knew this change was inevitable, but Google will have to be careful with their next steps, given the antitrust risks that exist with owning the industry-leading browser, publisher ad server, search provider, video content publisher, and demand-side ad server in addition to several major demand-side offerings and one of the largest ad exchanges.
We will continue to believe that an industry standard that is neutrally governed is the best approach to solve for the interconnection of consumer privacy and advertising. And if Google’s efforts over the next two years can create a standard for all browsers, one that is both consumer- and competition-friendly, that’s a good thing for the industry.
We are in a golden age of TV content, much of which is only available in connected environments, not through traditional linear. Consumers are inherently drawn to the superior viewing experience TV offers, and publishers are following suit, running a significant amount of their impressions on connected TV platforms. This shift from linear to CTV is enhancing advertisers’ abilities to reach and engage consumers, lowering rates of general invalid traffic and leading to higher video completion rates for premium publishers. And as we’re seeing through our SOURCE by MediaMath offering, brands and agencies can use CTV to reach real people with real ads, helping embed greater accountability and addressability into the entire supply chain.
We recently sat down with Adam Lowy, Chief Commercial Officer at SOURCE by MediaMath partner, Telaria, and our own resident TV experts Mike Fisher, VP/Head of Advanced TV & Video, and Aulden Kaye, Director, Advanced TV & Video, to discuss why the time is now to use CTV to deepen marketers’ direct relationships with customers, and just how we can do it. Listen here.
Just three weeks after launching SOURCE by MediaMath, we’ve been recognized as a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader.
MediaMath is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech for the second year in a row, based on our completeness of vision and ability to execute. We believe that what has led us to this point is our robust product roadmap, which has been focused these last 12 months on reengineering the ecosystem to make it 100 percent accountable and addressable by 2020.
Simply put, we go where the market needs us. We were first to market with supply path optimization and take an aggressive approach to active supply chain management that continues to evolve with our effort to drive accountability—real impressions on real content properties—across the ecosystem. We rebuilt our identity offering earlier this year to lay the groundwork for increased addressability—knowing that you are reaching a real human across screens and speakers with your ads—with improved identity resolution, an open approach that lets brands and agencies choose the best solution for them and the ability to export their data down to the log level for activation across all of their paid and owned marketing activities, all with consumer respect at the forefront.
But we know it goes beyond just the product. Another of our strengths—and part of our SOURCE offering—is that we put equal weight on both tech and talent to help our clients achieve higher return on investment with lower level of effort. We help clients solve their business problems, acting as partners throughout our relationship. Our strategic Account and Professional Services teams are dedicated to our clients and partners throughout their full digital marketing evolution with MediaMath, from solution design and onboarding to the education, services, support, custom solutions and consultation required to reach and exceed their business objectives.
According to Gartner, “The Ad Tech Magic Quadrant focuses on vendors that integrate three functions that also can be acquired separately: demand-side platforms (DSPs); data management platforms (DMPs); and dynamic creative optimization (DCO).” Gartner also affirmed in the report that, “A key decision in the evaluation of ad tech providers involves the issue of neutrality—that is, the principle that ad tech platforms should be independent of the media interests they mediate and measure.”
As the leading independent programmatic company, we have steered the evolution of the demand-side platform sector since 2007. Our business is now a globally scaled, enterprise-grade DSP and DMP that delivers personalized digital advertising across all addressable touchpoints. We are thrilled that the market has come along with us for the ride to prove out the potential of digital advertising to deepen marketers’ direct customer relationships, fairly reward good content and deliver fantastic experiences to consumers.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Gartner 2019 Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech, Andrew Frank, Lizzy Foo Kune and Eric Schmitt [Sep. 12, 2019]
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key player in how technology got to its current state. It is already widespread in many industries, including healthcare, entertainment, and retail. Without it, consumers wouldn’t have been able to experience smartphone assistants, product suggestions, and predictive text responses. It’s truly revolutionized every digital native’s life.
On the digital marketing front, it continues to make huge waves, we see its application everywhere and how it is bridging the gap from the desire to truly show the right ad to the right person at the right time to make that everyday reality in how advertisers execute.
Programmatic is central to nearly 40% of overall planning and execution of media buying by Asia-Pacific (APAC) marketers. India specifically is the fastest-growing country for digital ad spend across the globe in 2019, with a 28% boost compared to last year.
It is this very rapid growth that has also created challenges in the ecosystem, including a supply chain riddled with fraud, intermediaries that add little value and uncertainty of the exact path to the impression. The internet as constructed was never intended to sensibly connect the diverse and complex technologies brought to bear by the myriad or adtech and martech constituents in our industry. In fact, most of the longstanding problems we’ve seen over the last few years – such as fraud and lack of transparency—have been caused by this complexity. From the core technology service providers to third-party data providers, advertisers are often unaware of how much spend is going to intermediary fees versus publishers.
However, the future is looking brighter. Select industry players are hard at work creating a more accountable, effective, trustworthy media supply chain from which all parties—marketers, publishers and consumers—can benefit. One of the ways that starts is through access to trusted, high-quality supply that is not blocked by partners that don’t add value.
How can marketers build the best supply strategy?
All of this means that the single most important thing a marketer can do when it comes to determining the best media strategy is ‘never assume’. With high levels of complexity across the supply chain, it is vital that marketers analyse their supply strategy and avoid making the wrong call. Marketers should build or buy specialist insights required for their brand-specific marketing campaign.
For many major brands, this means building a supply team to integrate their technology into the bidding stack. However, the expense and expertise required for this remains to be a challenge for many brands, which is why choosing the right media agency is so critical. The right agency can add real value as they can pool the demand of multiple advertisers in negotiating deals, provide deep industry expertise and negotiate vertical specific deals.
But it also means partnering with the right technology vendor. There are key things to look for:
- Adoption of the IAB’s ads.txt initiative, which increases transparency by allowing publishers to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory
- Supply-path optimization to find the most direct path to the impression by removing intermediaries
- A supply code of conduct that specifies behaviors that your vendor will and will not tolerate from its supply partners
In the end, the aim is to use the most optimal path to reach your user rather than hoping to find the user on specific supply sources. It is pertinent to have a holistic approach to a media supply strategy which can help everyone in the ecosystem—marketers, publishers and consumers alike —get the quality they deserve.