Programmatic buying; #adtech’s biggest hurdle?

The adtech industry is under fire, and under intense scrutiny. Headlines in media across the globe tout negatives regarding the state of adtech today as we know it:

  • Adtech warning…is the bubble bursting?
  • “Fake it til you make it” Confessions of an adtech executive
  • Confessions of a media agency veteran; “Programmatic hidden fees must stop”
  • Adtech shines light on the fake news epidemic

So what will 2017 hold for adtech? How can we as a community (and an industry),  improve the broken processes?  Keep the technology moving forward? Combat disreputable business practices?  We would like to say the answer is simple, but we would be lying. Perhaps the answer IS simple…but acting on our ideas for improvement is the difficult part.

In November, we wrote a blog about how the adtech and advertising industry is perceived to be broken:

The Ad Industry/ad:tech is Broken. Is this starting to sound like a broken record?

We gave our 2 cents about steps that we as an industry need to do to rebuilt our fragmented industry.  But it seems there’s a new development everyday shedding light on shady practices, and how #adtech is the problem, not the solution. Now it’s the fake news epidemic and ad fraud, with millions in ad revenue being siphoned thru fake news/clickbait websites. Bot traffic accounts for a potential whopping 56% of web traffic!  Programmatic buying has become “problematic buying” instead…

Fraud is a real and serious problem, but some, we think, still hold a mental image of fraudsters as one-off bad actors, sitting in a dark room racking up clicks on ads on their site to make a few extra bucks. The truth is far more troubling: the majority of ad fraud today is perpetrated by sophisticated organizations that devote vast resources to build and operate large scale bot-nets, run on hijacked devices, to reap multi-million dollar payouts” (Source: DoubleClick Publisher)

Shocking stats, increasing from 2014 until now, are highlighting how rampant the problems in programmatic are:

  • Bots account for 11% of display ad views and 23% of video ads
  • Up to 50% of publisher traffic is bot activity; fake clicks from automated programs.
  • Between 3% and 31% ( !!! ) of programmatically-bought ad impressions were found to be from bots, with an average of 17%.


Advertiise’s fearless Founder and CEO, Mark Vella, has some thoughts on “problematic” media buying.

“Social media channels and mainstream digital media outlets are in a big conundrum right now, and are torn between “allowing freedom of speech” and “being a media company”…which means they have an obligation to clean up these deplorable click bait/fake news websites.” says Vella.  “From my perspective, it’s quite easy to solve this problem. SHUT DOWN THE CLICKBAIT WEBSITES, and stop this madness with programmatic digital advertising. The media buyers need to know that this is the problem with unqualified websites making millions of dollars from ad revenue – and the industry both complains about this AND is turning a blind eye to it at the same time.”

We think the first step should be this – simply turn off the ad revenue tap!  So will the advertising industry finally be able to agree that drastic measures need to be taken in order to polish up our tarnished image? We would love to hear YOUR 2 cents on this hot topic!





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