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TAG TrustNet the always-on 
solution to the ANA Study findings

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As the platform selected by the ANA to process the data for its Programmatic Transparency Study, TAG TrustNet is demonstrating that the deterministic matching of impression Log-Level Data (LLD) using its platform, creates the conditions for the Open Web to grow as an accountable and efficient marketplace, providing an immediate opportunity for marketers to improve ad spend productivity by $20B in open web programmatic ad spend to be allocated more efficiently.

ANA Programmatic Transparency Study announcement in Cannes in June 2023
with Bob 
Liodice, CEO ANA and Mike Zaneis CEO, TAG /TAG TrustNet.

Here are the Keys Findings and the Background information of the ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study, released in the First Look Overview, and the contribution of TAG TrustNet as the always-on "industry transparency utility": 



ANA Study Key findings and the TAG TrustNet solution


1. Opportunity to Drive +$20B in Efficiency Gains – “Open web programmatic advertising is estimated to be an $88 billion global market. But not all inventory is equal, and it is often difficult to distinguish between good and bad or low quality and high quality. As we follow up with the complete report, we are confident that there will be opportunities to drive a total of at least $20 billion in efficiency gains for open web programmatic advertising.”

TAG TrustNet Solution - As demonstrated by TAG TrustNet, the deterministic matching of LLD across suppliers allows advertisers to get a holistic always-on view of their supply chain cost, quality and risk metrics. It allows them to differentiate impressions that match their risk, quality and cost requirements from the ones that do not, providing a measure for ad spend productivity, the Cost-Per-Thousand impressions that comply with the requirements, that we define as TrueCPM. The Study validated that the ongoing access and automated reconciliation of impression log data provides an opportunity for marketers to improve ad spend productivity by at least $20 billion.



Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023


2. Access to Log-Level Data (LLD) is Lacking, leading to Inefficiencies and Waste – “Sixty-seven (67) ANA member companies raised their hands to participate in the Study, yet only 21 were able to do so. The 46 others were not able to make it through legal and other hurdles to get access to log data from DSPs, SSPs, and Ad Verification providers. While brands appear to have more access to data today, data gaps and lack of transparency still plague the programmatic space.”


TAG TrustNet Solution - TAG TrustNet has defined a set of LLD requirements and developed data connectors for 90% of the major DSPs, Ad Verification companies and SSPs that also agree to provide access to their impression log data to any advertiser asking for it. TAG TrustNet provides advertisers with a smooth process to activate LLD and get a holistic view of their supply chain. TAG TrustNet’s recommendation to advertisers is to only work with companies providing ongoing access to LLD.









Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023

3. Information Asymmetry is Leading to Poor Media Investment Decisions and Substantial waste – “Information asymmetry is an imbalance in the nature and quality of information possessed by different parties in a transaction. Within the programmatic supply chain there are strong characteristics of information asymmetry in cases where sellers typically have more or better information than buyers about the quality of media inventory being sold in auctions. If buyers are unable to properly assess the price of the good in question (i.e., programmatic inventory and audiences), they tend to overpay. If buyers are unable to know enough about the underlying quality of the good being sold, particularly in auctions, they cannot know how to price it with any precision or certainty.”

TAG TrustNet Solution - To overcome the data asymmetry problem, advertisers need access to LLD across their suppliers, but also need a technology platform to process that data. TAG TrustNet was developed for that purpose as an “always-on industry utility” to ingest, harmonize, reconcile and record LLD deterministically at scale across the supply chain for every single impression. Over its application, the Supply Chain Monitor, TAG TrustNet is providing near real-time in-depth information to advertiser on their impressions quality, costs and risks, allowing to make better informed investment decisions.


Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023

4. Deterministic Log-Level Data Matching to Make Better Informed Decisions – “When pricing information from DSP and SSP log data is married with ad impression quality data from Ad Verification provider log data, buyers get a relative sense of value to make better decisions. With clean and deterministically matched log data in hand, buyers can compare quality CPMs across different strategies on a like-for-like basis. Buyers should routinely assess log-level data (LLD) or engage an independent third party, not their agency, to make the assessment on their behalf to ensure that there is a balance between the price they’re paying and the quality of inventory they’re receiving. Probabilistic methodologies are unreliable; they only provide approximations and do not provide impression level granularity.”

TAG TrustNet Solution - TAG TrustNet demonstrated its ability to achieve a deterministic impression match rate of almost 100% across the supply chain when LLD is made available by DSPs, Ad Verification companies and SSPs, according to the TAG TrustNet requirements ( It allows advertisers to differentiate impressions that match their risk, quality and cost requirements from the ones that do not, providing a measure for ad spend productivity – TrueCPM – the cost per thousand of impressions that comply with the requirements. The data records provide TrueCPM and a wealth of metrics that can all be correlated and acted on in time to reduce risks, improve quality, optimize supply paths and adjust costs to improve ad spend productivity.



5. "Unknown Delta" Eliminated with Full Path Log-Level Data – “The “unknown delta” was first coined in ISBA’s 2020 Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study. It is defined as the unattributable ad spend between the funds that leave a DSP and the gross funds received by an SSP. While it was initially thought to eat into 15 percent of working media, ISBA’s follow-up study in 2023 revealed just a 3 percent unknown delta due to improved data matching. In this new ANA study, analysis of deterministically 1-to-1 matchable impression data results in a zero percent delta. The good news for advertisers is that this mysterious delta is not about missing money but about missing data capabilities.”

TAG TrustNet Solution - When DSPs and SSPs LLD data is provided with industry-standard impression identifiers as required by TAG TrustNet, it can be matched deterministically at an impression level. TAG TrustNet validated that in this case 100% of the ad spend can be matched and attributed across the supply chain waterfall, bringing any unknown delta to zero. 



Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023


6. Misaligned Incentives: Advertisers Prioritize Cost over Value – “The Study found that a major reason for the apparent lack of transparency in the programmatic ecosystem is that “incentives driving advertiser behavior are misaligned with the goals of their marketing campaigns.” When advertisers prioritize cost over value, they do so to their own detriment. Said another way, chasing cheap CPMs will likely lead to a cascade of downstream ad quality issues that might not be detectable.”


TAG TrustNet Solution - Based on the advanced data correlations the platform enables, a new ad spend productivity metric was introduced by TAG TrustNet during the study: TrueCPM. The TrueCPM shows the Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM) “qualified” impressions: impressions that match full set of risk, quality and cost requirements, such as matched LLD, fraud detection, brand safety and suitability, measurability, attention, compliance with IAB Tech Lab specifications, sustainability, user privacy or DE&I. Comparing the CPM with the TrueCPM shows the ad spend productivity gap that can be optimized. 

The TrueCPM is calculated as follows: assuming a cost for 1000 impressions of $10 – a $10 CPM – and only 700 impressions match the advertiser risk/quality/cost requirements, the TrueCPM is $10/300x1000 = $14.3.



7. The Average Campaign Ran on 44,000 Websites – “Can you think of 44 websites for your programmatic advertising campaign to run on? How about 440? Or 4,400? Now 44,000? It is deeply concerning that the average number of websites for study participants was 44,000 top-level domains. While the initial promise of programmatic advertising was about audience targeting, advertisers need to reconsider the importance of context. Is there confidence that the context of those 44,000 websites is appropriate for brands? Do some of those websites present brand risk issues? Or does context and risk mitigation represent less important concerns for brands?”


TAG TrustNet Solution – The Supply Chain Monitor, part of the TAG TrustNet platform, allowed study participants to visualize their supply chain and all the websites their ads ran on with metrics for each individual site that can be tracked to every single impression. The application provides the opportunity to monitor that all delivered impressions are indeed delivered according to advertiser’s curated inclusion and exclusion lists based on a wide range of risk, quality and cost metrics, and to react in near real-time to any policy violations that might be caused by ad campaign misconfigurations, fraud or domain spoofing. 



8. ​Made for Advertising (MFA) Websites Represent 21 Percent of Impressions – Indicating Advertisers are Not in Control of Media Placement Decisions - “Made for Advertising (MFA) websites comprised a startling 21 percent of study impressions and 15 percent of spend. MFA sites typically use sensational headlines, clickbait, and provocative content to attract visitors and generate page views, which in turn generate ad revenue for the site owner. MFA sites also usually feature low-quality content, and may use tactics such as pop-up ads, auto-play videos, or intrusive ads to maximize ad revenue. The project team layered a top-level domain subset from DSPs with data from, made available to TAG TrustNet, consisting of 4,500 known MFA sites to identify this wasteful area of spending.“

TAG TrustNet Solution - The TAG TrustNet platform was developed to match LLD across the supply chain, joining impression, risk, quality and cost metrics and providing impression-level precision for in-depth analysis and optimization. In addition, TAG TrustNet joins impression data with curated industry-specific datasets in a wide range of areas including Fraud, Brand Safety, MFA, DEI, Sustainability, Privacy, Governance. TAG TrustNet is scaling its data partnerships to offer ever-enhancing value to advertisers. In June 2023 in Cannes, TAG TrustNet has announced its partnership with for MFA site identification, with Neutronian for minority ownership ratings and Safeguard Privacy for Privacy compliance.

​Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023



ANA Study – Background Information

Over the past decade, open web programmatic advertising has dramatically grown and is now one of the largest types of media investment for most marketers. Programmatic advertising offers marketers important benefits including the ability to target the right audience and cost savings.


When programmatic tools are used diligently, the open web provides one of the best opportunities for advertisers to reach broad and diverse audiences efficiently across the entire internet. Advertising across the open web allows marketers to leverage a wide array of data to reach and grow audiences. Unlike the walled garden world, the open web allows independent performance measurement while simultaneously supporting quality journalism, diversity of choice, and minority-owned and operated media. But at the same time, there are challenges.


In April 2021 the ANA announced the launch of a comprehensive study of the programmatic media buying ecosystem, which it described as “riddled with material issues including thin transparency, fractured accountability, and mind-numbing complexity.” Goals of the RFP were:

  • Drive business and brand growth through the elimination of wasteful and unproductive spending.

  • Make the digital media supply chain understandable, highly transparent, and analytically rich.

  • Institute corrective solutions and industry standards that have long-term sustainability.

  • Determine whether industry oversight bodies are needed to ensure the integrity of the programmatic ecosystem.

  • Improve marketers’ decision-making. 


In December 2021, the ANA awarded the job to an alliance of three partners:

  • PwC, the global professional services network, supported the study with its Media Intelligence platform to ingest and analyze log data.

  • TAG TrustNet, an industry initiative to drive transparency, accountability, and efficiency across the digital advertising industry with a technology platform enabling deterministic matching of impression log level data.

  • Kroll, a provider of services and digital products related to valuation, governance, risk, and transparency, served as the investigative/qualitative research partner.


The study focused on open-web programmatic, an $88B global market (11% of total global media spend). Search and walled gardens were not included. Unlike past studies that tapped into log data but only looked at dollars moving from advertisers to publishers, this study also used log data and combined other data sets to better understand ad impression quality making it, or not, to the consumers. 




​Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023


Sixty-seven (67) ANA member companies raised their hands to participate in this project, yet only 21 were ultimately able to do so. The 46 others were not able to make it through legal and other hurdles to get access to log data from DSPs, SSPs, and ad verification providers.

Supply chain participants consisted of: 

• 3 DSPs 

• 6 SSPs 

• 3 Ad Verification companies





Source: ANA Transparency Study, June 2023


For PwC and TAG TrustNet, the study period was between September 2022 and January 2023. 

• $123 million in ad spend 

• 35.5 billion impressions 


Kroll conducted 35 qualitative interviews, primarily with supply chain intermediaries. 

The study focused on open web programmatic advertising. Unlike past studies that tapped into log data but only looked at dollars moving from advertisers to publishers, this study also used log data and combined other data sets to understand ad impression quality making it (or not) to consumers. 


Notably, the lion’s share of impressions from an ad placement perspective were classic banner and video ads served on sites and apps. 

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of your programmatic supply chain

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Find out more about how impression log-level data connected through TAG TrustNet can help you optimize your programmatic supply chain productivity, or get in touch using the form at the bottom of the page.

You can also contact: 

Ed Stevenson
VP Sales
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