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Only One-Third of Every Programmatic Dollar Reaches End-User, ANA Report Finds

The supply chain is still filled with waste, and impression price doesn't correlate with quality

A new industrywide report shows how buyers, including top advertisers, continue to waste money on inefficient supply paths and low-quality media.

Media quality and the cost of media are not correlated, according to the Association of National Advertisers’ programmatic media supply chain transparency report. The study analyzed campaign data from 21 brands including State Farm, Mondelez and Discover, and encompassed $123 million in ad spend between September 2022 and January 2023.

Theoretically, media providers with a higher percentage of high-quality impressions—which the ANA defines as impressions that are viewable, measurable and non-fraudulent—should be able to charge more for their inventory. However, the ANA found no such correlation.

In another disturbing finding, only 36 cents of every dollar that enters a demand-side platform reaches a consumer. Around 29 cents go toward fees to ad-tech intermediaries, and 35 cents go toward low-quality media, including invalid traffic and made-for-advertising, non-viewable and non-measurable inventory, the ANA found.

Ultimately, of the $88 billion in open web programmatic ad spend, the ANA estimates that around $22 billion is wasteful and unproductive.


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