ISBA Programmatic Study: Publishers Receive Half Of Advertiser Spend

Publishers receive just half of advertiser spend in the programmatic supply chain with 15 per cent of spend disappearing into a black hole, a new study from ISBA has found.  

The study, Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study conducted in association with the Association of Online Publishers and carried out by PwC, highlighted the complexity of the programmatic supply chain.

Across the 15 advertisers participating in the study, more than 1,000 distinct supply chains were identified, but researchers were able to end-to-end match just 290 chains all the way to the 12 publishers taking part.

On average, publishers receive just 51 per cent of advertiser spend. Fifteen per cent of advertiser spend, representing around one-third of supply chain costs, could not be attributed.

Publishers taking part in the study included ESI Media, Mail Metro Media, News UK, The Telegraph, and The Guardian.

ISBA said the study could not say what the unattributable 15 per cent, which it described as an “unknown delta,” represents.  

It could reflect a combination of limitations in data sets, necessitating occasional estimations; DSP or SSP fees that aren’t visible in the study data; post-auction bid shading; post-auction financing arrangements or other trading deals; foreign exchange translations; inventory reselling between tech vendors; or other unknown factors.

ISBA said that a critical conclusion of this study is the need for industry collaboration to further investigate the unknown delta.

Standardisation is urgently required across a range of contractual and technology areas, to facilitate data-sharing and drive transparency, ISBA added.

ISBA said it would now convene a cross-industry taskforce to begin work on studying the causes of the unknown delta and, separately, shape an independently-led effort to work on standardisation and data sharing, to facilitate robust supply chain verification.