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PwC, Kroll, and TAG TrustNet Chosen to Conduct In-Depth Study

NEW YORK (December 16, 2021) — The ANA today named an alliance of three partners to collaboratively conduct an in-depth study of the programmatic media buying ecosystem, which it has described as lacking transparency and hobbled by mind-numbing complexity.

The team that will conduct the study will focus on how advertisers can eliminate waste throughout the programmatic marketplace and supply chain. This elite group consists of:

  • PwC, the global professional services network, which will serve as team leader and overall project manager. PwC will also support the study with its Media Intelligence platform.

  • Kroll, a premier provider of services and digital products related to valuation, governance, risk, and transparency, which will serve as the investigative partner.

  • TAG TrustNet, an industry initiative that leverages the power of distributed ledger technology to drive transparency, accountability, and efficiency across the digital advertising industry, which will function as a technology platform partner.

“As powerful a tool as programmatic advertising has been for marketers, the programmatic market has been riddled with material issues, including a lack of transparency, fractured accountability, and mind-numbing complexity,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice in announcing the team. “These issues impair critical decision-making, leading to wasteful and unproductive media-buying decisions. We have selected PwC, Kroll, and TAG TrustNet to conduct a deep dive into these issues and to find ways for advertisers to drive business and brand growth through the elimination of wasteful and unproductive spending.”

Worldwide programmatic ad spending in all forms for 2021 is on track to exceed $200 billion, and 72 percent of all digital display spending is now transacted programmatically. PwC has estimated that over 70 percent of an advertiser’s programmatic budget does not result in media that reaches the end consumer. This factors in ad fees, fraud, non-viewable impressions, non-brand-safe placements, and unknown allocations.

“We see a real opportunity for brands to drive greater value from their media investments,” said Derek Baker, partner, marketing transformation (Media, Data, and Tech) at PwC, and project lead. “However, to do so, we must have a transparent supply chain. We are excited to lead this groundbreaking study, which will bring insights to market that can help advertisers get a better look into how their media dollars are spent, reduce waste, and drive greater return from their media investment.”

Richard Plansky, the North American regional managing director for Kroll’s Forensic Investigations and Intelligence practice, said, “We are thrilled to be working for the ANA in partnership with PwC and TAG TrustNet on such an important assignment. In its current state, the digital programmatic marketplace is incredibly opaque and confusing — it is in desperate need of transparency for the benefit of all participants. Working closely with our partners, that’s exactly what we intend to provide.”

TAG CEO Mike Zaneis added: “Increasing transparency has always been at the core of TAG’s mission, and we are excited to be a part of this vital research. The TrustNet platform is an ‘always on’ solution that empowers marketers to understand the true value of their digital media buys. Through the ANA’s leadership we will leverage groundbreaking data access to revolutionize brand practices.”


The inquiry will be conducted in two phases: Phase One will focus on programmatic spending across the open web, while Phase Two will cover programmatic spending in walled gardens. Phase One is expected to start this month and run through the end of the third quarter of 2022. Results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Over two dozen companies responded to an April RFP and were evaluated in the search process, which was conducted largely over the summer. The RFP cited ANA’s goals for the study:

  • 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.


ABOUT THE ANA The ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) mission is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.



John Wolfe

Director of Communications

Office: 212.455.8011

Cell: 914.659.8663


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