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More than a fifth of UK brands plan to decrease their programmatic ad spend


By Taruka Srivastav, Reporter

December 28, 2017 | 5 min read

Over one fifth (22%) of brands have said that they plan to decrease their programmatic advertising spend because of concerns over costs or performance, while 41% of advertisers admitted they have lost trust in programmatic advertising as a result of ad fraud according to QueryClick's latest report titled 'Programmatic Ad Fraud Transparency'.

22% brands are planning to decrease their programmatic ad spend globally due to ad fraud

22% brands in UK are planning to decrease their programmatic ad spend due to ad fraud

QueryClick surveyed 150 heads of marketing, e-commerce and digital at major UK brands with revenue of over £100m, and found that only 40% of major advertisers believed that more than half of their adverts placed online in the last 12 months had been seen by people, while just 7% said they thought the proportion viewed by humans rather than bots was 80% or more.

As a result, brands admitted to planning to decrease their programmatic ad spend with just under half (46%) having said they blamed the lack of alternative technology options (alternative ad buying platforms or DSPs) in the market, 41% blamed a lack of transparency over how much the programmatic ads costs, and 39% said that it was due to a lack of transparency over which sites their ads would be placed

The report also revealed that brand safety continued to be a major fear with more than three quarters (80%) of online ad buyers were worried that their current programmatic processes would lead to their adverts appearing next to terrorist or extremist content.

Another report by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed that 35% of brands had expanded their in-house programmatic media buying capabilities as marketers show greater demands for more data transparency.

QueryClick's managing director Chris Liversidge explained: "Despite it being on the rise, programmatic advertising is wide open to abuse. Recent studies have put the cost of digital advertising fraud as high as $31bn That makes digital ad fraud not just more costly than any form of cybercrime, but more costly than offline crimes such as counterfeit goods and payment card fraud.

"Publishers are on the front line in the battle against advertising fraud. They have a duty to educate both brands and agencies on programmatic processes to ensure transparency. However, brands can take steps to protect themselves too. First, where possible, they should separate their programmatic campaigns so they are given the consideration - and performance measures - their growing size warrants. Secondly, they should unbundle their agency relationship from the programmatic platform, to enable them to seek out independent providers that offer true transparency and protection from the risks of current programmatic campaigns.

"In doing so they will not only significantly reduce their exposure to waste and damage to their band reputation from fraud, but also start to see programmatic begin to deliver on its promise."

Ad fraud remains biggest challenge for mobile marketers in China and India. Meanwhile, Facebook, Google and News UK have pledged to reduce ad fraud with IAB ‘Gold Standard’ initiative.

Meanwhile, in November, Adform released a report having claimed to have discovered the largest bot network which it christened Hythbot, and was found to be targetting over 1 million URLs. Procter & Gamble chief marketing officer, Marc Pritchard also called on the industry to clean up its act on a few occassions throughout 2017;

“We accepted multiple viewability metrics, publishers reporting with no verification, outdated agency contracts and fraud threats with the somewhat delusional thought that digital is different and that we were getting ahead of the digital curve. We’ve come to our senses and realised there is no sustainable advantage in a complicated, non-transparent, inefficient and fraudulent media supply chain," he stated while speaking at the IAB's Annual Leadership meeting in Florida which generated headlines.

Speaking at The Drum's recent Programmatic Punch conference in London about the need for brands to take their digital advertising capabilities in-house to better protect themselves from ad fraud and hold onto more first party data, was Lara Izlan, AutoTrader, director of commercial platforms and operations, James Burgess, head of programmatic for Unibet Group, Nick Reid, the global head of agency partnerships for Adobe, Greg Carroll, King, director of programmatic advertising and Charlie Glyn, head of Affiperf UK.

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