Amazon Grows Self-Serve Tools for Advertisers (Aug 29, 2017)
A study from MediaRadar, reported here by Adweek, suggests that the number of advertisers buying programmatic ads dropped by 12% year on year, while the number spending on native ads rose 74% year on year. The latter is very much in line with a longer-term trend towards native advertising, which looks more like the content in or between which it is embedded, but the former is more newsworthy. The most likely reason appears to be the worries over automatically-placed ads showing up next to undesirable content on YouTube and through Google’s AdSense earlier this year. I said at the time the YouTube boycott began that, although the backlash was publicly aimed at Google’s properties, it was likely to affect programmatic buying generally as brands became more concerned about a lack of control over which content their ads would show up next to, and this is a bit of evidence that confirms that hunch. The two formats discussed here – native and programmatic – needn’t, of course, be mutually exclusive, and as an example Google’s recently introduced mobile ad formats could potentially be bought programmatically while being designed to appear as native ads on various sites. But programmatic buying itself, while Google has explicitly called out as one of a small number of major factors driving its ad performance in recent quarters, looks to be heading for a bit of a setback as at least some brands re-evaluate whether to use it.
Almost 20% of digital ad spending could be wasted – Axios (Mar 22, 2017)
The first thing I thought of when I saw this headline was the famous quote from John Wanamaker about half his advertising dollars being wasted, but not knowing which half (and Sara Fischer told me she had included a reference to it, but removed it for brevity’s sake). The difference here is that the “waste” referred to isn’t poorly targeted advertising, but fraud and “invalid traffic” – in other words, ads that no-one sees at all but which are nonetheless recorded as having been seen and therefore paid for. Fraud – especially in programmatic, where 29% of dollars are apparently wasted – is one of several big issues for online advertising at the moment, and it isn’t going away soon, even though the authors of this report have a proposed solution.