Most advertisers unhappy with programmatic trading

Almost 80 per cent of advertisers are unhappy with programmatic trading due to lack of transparency, according to The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

WFA: offers advertisers a set of guidelines regarding programmatic trading
WFA: offers advertisers a set of guidelines regarding programmatic trading

More than 70 per cent of advertisers prefer the "traditional" way of ad trading, due to the lack of pricing information, masked inventory sources and murky trading platform bidder strategies offered on agency trading desks.

Trading desks are also not equipped to tackle these issues, according to a study conducted by the WFA.

The study also found more than half of advertisers are unhappy with the way their data is stored, captured and utilised on a programmatic platform and feel that they have lack of transparency of audience data and key insights about return on investment.

However, investment in programmatic platforms has doubled in the past year, according the survey based on responses from 43 of the world’s biggest spending marketers, such as Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson, responsible for annual spend of $35bn.

Around 10 per cent of total digital media investment is now going through programmatic channels, with 44 per cent of that targeted at online display.

Programmatic share of advertisers' digital budget is set to continue to grow significantly in the next 12 months, with 83 per cent expecting video to grow and 77 per cent predicting rises in mobile activity.

Much of the exposure to programmatic has been via open exchanges and real-time bidding, where 69 per cent of advertisers have been active. However 42 per cent have also used private exchanges with fixed prices and 31 per cent of advertisers have participated in invite only auctions on private exchanges.

The WFA said brands can improve the return they get from investment in digital advertising via programmatic platforms by making four small changes:

  1. Gain ownership of media investment data, such as audience data and key insights about return on investment.
  2. Ask trading desk partners to clarify their position in the market and help establish a programme of next steps.
  3. Consider direct contracts at every step of the chain in order to limit wasted commissions.
  4. Create a media investment strategy based on understanding of the media asset and the psychology of the other investors. 

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).