Programmatic media budget

Dear advertisers, we wish you a restful, inspiring and invigorating holiday. We hope you will be able to enjoy everything you hold dear, and much more. See you after the summer!

For once, we decided to do it the other way round, by starting where we normally end! Unusual, right? But actually, in fact, behind those bizarre opening sentences, our message is more layered, dear advertiser. A holiday should be a conscious and well-considered choice based on knowledge (you browse online and read a bit about where you are going beforehand), experience (where have you been, did you like it, what do you definitely want to try again?), environment (what do others say?), budget available (what can we afford this year?) and period (when are we available?). A holiday should be a good investment, and an enrichment too.
Sharp readers will have already got the message: everything that applies to your holidays also applies to your media investments: you should be informed, know what was right and what was not, know how your stakeholders and competitors act and think, be clear where and when you should appear and what budget is available. So far, these are good parallels!

Now allow us to go one step further. Suppose you have €4,000 to spend on your holiday. You book an all-in package holiday, and when you arrive at your destination, it turns out that €1,000 from that budget was spent on painting a mural, in calligraphic letters, of your own name. You did not know this in advance, no one had talked to you about the wall, someone else decided what would happen to your budget, you only saw it after you arrived, and you can’t change anything about it because the calligraphy’s already on the wall of your holiday apartment… Let’s all agree: it was a waste of money!

As completely absurd and unrealistic as this may seem, the parallel with your media investments still holds up, dear advertiser. Really!
Last week’s advertising festival in Cannes not only revealed beautiful cases, and ditto lions, but also unveiled an ANA report. You know, ANA, the Association of National Advertisers, the US counterpart of our UBA. The full report will be published later this year but we already got a sneak peek. Please take a seat…
The ANA determined that some 15% of all websites in the world are “made for advertising” websites. They are only populated with low-quality content, fake news, or conspiracy theories – but also with pop-up ads and other advertising, for the sole purpose of maximising revenue.
In a typical online campaign, some 44,000 websites are used on average. You should know, critical advertiser, that between 95% and 99% of your target audience can be reached with ‘only’ a few hundred websites.
Advertisers also appear to have insufficiently enforced data access in their agency contracts. Only one third of the advertisers who participated in the study appear to have access to log data (from DSPs, SSPs, etc.), while it is precisely this data that can give detailed information on the programmatic transactions that were performed. That means that two thirds don’t even have a clue what happened to their budget in that programmatic environment. In other words, they never even get to see the mural in their apartment!

According to the estimate by the ANA and its partners (including big names such as PwC) the total waste due to this form of fraud amounts to… $13-20 billion! Yes, billion!
Clearly, action is needed for and by the global advertising market as a whole. In the coming months, we will come back with detailed solutions from fma, dear advertiser, and so will the ANA. But you should realise that you as well should require more steering with regard to the programmatic component. Insist on having direct contracts with primary DSPs and SSPs so that data access is ensured, demand full transparency on where and when you appear on which websites, have a daily optimisation of campaigns performed by your internal and/or external experts, require annual quality checks by senior experts, a discussion on the principal versus agent status of your agency, and so on. Rest assured, we are going to write more about these topics!

If the full report coming later this year will have the same impact as the 2016 ANA report on transparency in the industry, we are in for a stormy autumn. Perhaps the ANA is already trying to prepare us for this, dear advertiser, but first we have the summer – it’s already upon us, in fact – and you may soon start budget talks for 2024. Well, then think about your holiday budget….

Oh yes, now please read the first 2 sentences of our blog post! That way, we will have come full circle….


Media investments


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