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Programmatic: Seeing through the Financial Fog

In partnership with the U.S. Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), and AD/FIN, we are proud to launch a first-of-its-kind study into programmatic media buying in the U.S. marketplace. Our common goal for the study was to investigate the costs and economics of the programmatic advertising ecosystem. As increasing volumes of media – both digital and traditional – are being traded programmatically, we wanted to explore the opportunities and challenges advertisers face with programmatic, particularly regarding transparency of data. Our new study follows the ANA’s publications on these issues last year.

What did the study analyze?

Our study analyzed 16.4bn media impressions purchased on behalf of seven major advertisers across five programmatic, demand-side platforms (DSPs). Just over 40% of these impressions – a total of 6.6bn – was scrutinized in greater detail at the campaign level, across 445 completed campaigns. This in-depth investigation was designed to showcase the underlying economics of disclosed programmatic transactions.

While we did analyze the campaigns, we did not look into some of the other, known challenges of the digital marketplace, including fraud, viewability, brand safety, and arbitrage.

What will you learn from the study?

The study provides readers with the following:

  • Data-driven insights from 445 completed campaigns and 6.6bn impressions – the most comprehensive study of its kind into programmatic media buying yet produced

  • Procedural learnings about the programmatic marketplace
  • What’s standing in the way of advertisers making the most of the opportunities afforded by programmatic trading that were identified during the course of the study
  • An 11-step advertiser playbook to enhance programmatic accountability


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