Honey, did you see my $140 billion?

According to the ANA and PwC, 70% of advertising dollars spent on online programmatic advertising never touch a human being. Of $200 billion in annual programmatic ad spend, $140 billion disappears in “ad fees, fraud, non-viewable impressions, non-brand-safe placements, and unknown allocations”  (by “unknown allocations” you can read “shit that no one can figure out.”)

As a consequence, this week, the ANA announced they were commissioning an “in-depth study of the programmatic media-buying ecosystem.”  ANA CEO Bob Liodice said the adtech dreck-o-system is “riddled with material issues, including a lack of transparency, fractured accountability, and mind-numbing complexity.”

You may recall that in October in this space I wrote, “The ANA and/or the 4As should immediately institute and fund an independent commission to investigate the adtech industry — the fraud, the social consequences, and the secrecy. “

For years the the ANA has been talking out of both sides of its mouth — whining about the corruption of the adtech industry but fighting every serious measure to reform it.  The creation of this study is a positive step, but it is a very small one.

All it will do is verify what everyone with half a lobe already knows — advertisers are being screwed blind by adtech ferrets. But let’s be honest. If advertisers are stupid enough to piss away tens of billions of dollars a year on this idiocy, who really gives a shit?

The really important issue is the impact of tracking (the basis of all programmatic activity) on society and the enormous damage it is doing to individuals and to democratic institutions.

The fact that this issue is not part of the study it has commissioned is an enormous mistake by the ANA.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman is creator of the popular “The Ad Contrarian” blog and newsletter, named one of the world's most influential marketing and advertising blogs by Business Insider

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