Most marketers believe media agencies have not adapted to programmatic

Advertisers believe agencies have failed to adapt to programmatic and that there should be a radical overhaul of the agency model.

Most marketers believe media agencies have not adapted to programmatic

The study, by programmatic agency Infectious Media, surveyed more than 200 decision-making marketers with programmatic remits in EMEA, Asia-Pacific and/or North America. 

It found that 71% of advertisers believe media agencies have struggled to adapt to programmatic.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) said agencies don't fully report financial data and just one percentage point less claimed agencies do not accurately measure programmatic.

Part of the issue is the complexity of the supply chain with 66% of advertisers finding that they lack control over their relationship with publishers. 

Just over half of those interviewed (53%) believe this is the result of agencies being untrustworthy.

The hybrid model of the future

Nevertheless, advertisers do not want to do it all. Nearly all (96%) said agencies should manage multiple aspects of programmatic advertising going forward.

However, 86% also said they would manage some aspects of programmatic in-house in the future too, suggesting a hybrid relationship is set to become the norm.

Larger advertisers had the greatest appetite for "in-housing", with almost half (49%) saying they would like to bring strategic planning in-house, and manage relationships with publisher data and inventory themselves.

While this desire to bring planning in-house was partly driven by a lack of transparency (68%) and control (65%), the availability of more qualified staff in-house (71%) and advances in DSPs and DMPs (69%) were the more significant drivers.

"The extent to which brands want greater control and believe agencies have struggled to adapt to programmatic should be a wake-up call for our industry," Martin Kelly, Infectious Media chief executive and co-founder, said. "For agencies, there’s an urgent need to proactively address advertisers’ concerns by offering full transparency and working with partners that can effectively prove the value of programmatic."

Digital strategy overhaul

Linked to this distrust of agencies is wave of account reviews. A study by Teads found that 44% of chief marketers at large brands in the UK are reviewing their relationships with suppliers, and 43% are reviewing agencies. 

The survey of 100 chief marketers, conducted by Censuswide, 83% of respondents said they have become more concerned about brand safety in the past year and 77% are more worried about ad fraud than before. 

In response to these concerns, 95% of chief marketers said they’ve overhauled their digital strategy. Many are demanding greater transparency from suppliers and agencies, with nearly half (44%) questioning their supplier relationships and 43% scrutinising agency relationships.

In the future, 93% plan to choose agencies or suppliers based on their ability to prove brand safety and transparency.

Over a third (36%) have boycotted or reduced spend on channels that can not guarantee brand safety and 37% of chief marketing officers say they are now directly involved in the execution of digital strategy.

Two fifths (39%) have discussed booking campaigns direct with suppliers, and a similar number (41%) are even considering taking ad buying in-house.

Despite this action, brand safety concerns persist for chief marketing officers. Two fifths (43%) want reassurance from publishers that they’re controlling risky content on their sites (43%). Over a third (36%) want agencies to address their questions on transparency and 34% are worried how users could react to ads appearing next to unsafe content.

"In order to get to the root of these issues we need to rally together as an industry to make sure transparency, brand safety and fraud-free environments are guaranteed at every level," Justin Taylor, UK managing director at Teads, said. "For brands and agencies, this means having transparency and verification on ad buys; if it’s not viewed, the advertiser shouldn’t pay."