Nearly half of both buyers and sellers struggle to understand auction dynamics, according to new research

Transparency Unmasked: Market Insight Report

Despite huge calls in the industry to make every aspect of the digital supply chain transparent, a great deal of discrepancy remains, according to a new report titled, Transparency Unmasked: Market Insight Report, by The Drum, in association with Rubicon Project, the global exchange for advertising.

The report highlights the enigma that is the auction system – as nearly 50% of buyers and sellers don’t understand the differences between first and second price auctions.

Additionally, many ad buyers are still left in the dark when it comes to the setup of the auctions they might be bidding in. More than half of those surveyed say they are not acting differently regardless which type of auction is chosen.

Compounding this confusion is the ambiguity that remains around fees and pricing. The survey found that despite marketers ranking knowledge of buyer and seller fees as the most important aspect of transparency; more than half of sellers (59%) and buyers (57%) remain unaware of how buyer fees are assessed.

Commenting on the report findings, Joe Prusz, chief revenue officer at Rubicon Project said: “It is not surprising that transparency remains absolutely top of mind for buyers and sellers of digital advertising as we head into 2018.

"The black box days of programmatic are over, however, in order to truly deliver on this promise of transparency it is incumbent on the tech providers to clearly and plainly articulate the fees and auction dynamics within which the buyers and sellers transact. Without being provided this level of awareness, buyers and sellers are greatly handicapped in their ability to make the most educated decisions with their inventory and spend.”

380 senior digital advertising professionals from the UK and US markets were surveyed on their knowledge of the digital supply chain, buyer fees and auction dynamics.

The survey took place between August and September of 2017 across 176 publishers or mobile app developers (45% sellers), and 204 DSPs, agencies and trading desks (53% buyers). 183 were UK respondents working in the UK market, and 194 were US respondents working in the US market.

The full results of the survey can be found in Transparency Unmasked: Market Insight Report, which is available to download here.

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