One of the biggest trends we’ll see this year within martech and ad tech is growing pressure to clean up programmatic advertising.
Fraud and transparency issues are driving marketers to re-evaluate how they work with third-party tech firms. Here's what that looks like.
Some marketing and media companies are finding that they’re working with too many middlemen. According to Pathmatics, advertisers are cutting back on the number of demand-side platforms (DSPs) they use to buy inventory each month, and publishers are reducing the number of supply-side platforms (SSPs) they use to sell inventory.
In a spring 2018 study by Sizmek of 522 brand marketers in Europe and the US, 28% of respondents said it is a critical priority to reduce the number of vendors they work with. An additional 36% stated reducing vendors is a high priority.
Eight in 10 marketers surveyed by Sizmek agreed that the digital media landscape has become too complex. The complexity of the ad supply chain has led publishers and advertisers to complain that tech vendors are receiving too many ad dollars. In March 2018, Warc estimated that the total “tech tax” accounted for 55% of all programmatic spend worldwide.
The complex ad supply chain is also making some marketers anxious that their tech partners could expose them to fines for breaking data privacy laws. In a June 2018 survey of 255 marketers worldwide conducted by Demandbase and Demand Metric, four in five respondents were concerned their tech vendors could put them at risk of violating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Although tech fees and data privacy concerns have led some marketers to prioritize reducing the number of vendors they work with, marketers by and large will continue to rely on third-party tech firms to help them execute their digital campaigns.
In a September 2018 poll of 237 business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals worldwide by Dun & Bradstreet and Adweek Branded, web analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms were the types of vendors most likely to be used with advanced functions. For newer vendor categories such as customer data platforms (CDPs), the polled marketers were more likely to use only the basic functions for these technologies.
A May 2018 survey of 446 advertisers and technology vendors by Econsultancy and MediaMath also found analytics and CRM companies to be among the vendors most utilized by advertisers.
Meanwhile, three in 10 respondents polled by Econsultancy and MediaMath said they use DSPs and demand management platforms (DMPs) as part of an integrated digital advertising strategy.
Although some advertisers want to take more control over the ad buying process, most are content with leaving ad ops and building technology to their vendors, according to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Advertiser Perceptions.
In April 2018, IAB and Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 119 US media decision-makers and found that roughly 30% of respondents preferred to build tech or do ad ops in-house. The rest of the respondents said they either work with a partner or would prefer to work with a partner for tech and ad ops.