The Programmatic Supply Chain is Broken – Here’s How We Fix It

The recently-released ISBA Study revealed, among other things, that “15% of spend” was simply unaccounted for in programmatic transactions, while barely half of all spend actually made it to the publishers.

This comes as no surprise. The past 5+ years have been riddled with well-known, well-documented problems with the programmatic supply chain.

So, how do we solve these problems and move forward?

It boils down to trust. All of the industry shortcoming outlined within the ISBA study can be addressed by improving trust between buyers (marketers, advertisers) and sellers (publishers). No blockchain required.

Three things are needed to establish this trust:

  1. Direct Relationships: collaborative, direct relationships between two parties – buyers and sellers. Audience targeting no longer requires 2+ middlemen.
  2. Transparent Transactions: complete transparency and accountability on both sides of the transaction (i.e. the “supply chain”)
  3. The Right Marketplace: one designed specifically to promote and facilitate both of these things

Outlining these “needs” makes the gaps in current processes painfully obvious. It’s easy to see why, as Alessandro de Zanche put it: “The programmatic open marketplace has clearly, consistently and repeatedly failed to support premium media owners. Instead, ad tech and the long tail have benefited most from the presence of quality publishers in the ecosystem.” 

Once ad tech focuses on fostering growth on both the buyer and seller side of the transaction (rather than seeking scale for its own sake), we can start establishing the trust we need to move forward. And ultimately, programmatic will become more equitable and favorable for both marketers and publishers.

Is it possible? Yes, but it will take work. It isn’t automatic. It’s programmatic.

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