Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global player in digital media quality, has released research titled Perfecting Your Supply Path: The Expansion of SPO in Programmatic. The study uncovers critical challenges and opportunities as programmatic ad spending increases, plus how brands and agencies are approaching supply path optimisation (SPO) differently.
“This report showcases that a fundamental shift is underway towards quality path optimisation. Rather than simply focusing on low cost ad inventory within programmatic environments, marketers are carefully deploying SPO strategies to seek high quality media underpinned by efficient investments,” said Tony Marlow, CMO, IAS.
Programmatic buying continues to grow worldwide – estimated to top $154 billion in ad spend in 2021 – more advertisers are tapping into supply path optimisation strategies to achieve better results.
The study from IAS found:
Video ads dominate programmatic buying, while CTV and Audio are up and coming
The majority of advertisers (52 per cent) say that more than half of their advertising budgets are bought programmatically today, while 80 per cent say it represents one-third or more of their spend. Video ads lead the pack when it comes to programmatic buying, especially in mobile and social environments. Social video (71 per cent), mobile web video (61 per cent), and mobile app video (60 per cent) formats topped the rankings in this survey, while emerging formats including CTV (38 per cent) and Digital Audio (37 per cent) show there’s still room for growth.
Benefits abound, but transparency and media quality issues persist for media experts
Advertisers continue to lean into programmatic, with 54 per cent saying that maximising audience reach and scale is the primary benefit. However, advertisers say a lack of transparency in programmatic (42 per cent) is a top challenge, along with increased ad fraud (44 per cent) and brand risk (46 per cent). In some cases, brands and agencies don’t see eye to eye; nearly 1.5x more agency experts are concerned about increased ad fraud in programmatic than brands. To address concerns around transparency, many industry experts are turning to supply path optimisation strategies for their campaigns.
SPO strategies are on the rise, but brands and agencies disagree on who’s responsible
60 per cent of ad buyers already activate SPO strategies to maximise the efficiency of their campaigns. As these tactics grow, 95 per cent of ad buyers will boost their SPO efforts by working with external consultants or supply path verification technologies. 48 per cent currently use or plan to implement third-party verification and monitoring technology to control and optimise campaigns toward supply paths with the most cost-efficient, high-quality media. While they agree on the opportunity, brands and agencies don’t see eye to eye on who should take responsibility for SPO and media quality. When asked about this, 47 per cent of brands and 38 per cent of agencies agree that brands are responsible for day-to-day SPO activities; by contrast, 29 per cent of brands and 38 per cent of agencies believe that agencies are responsible for these tasks. This disconnect highlights the importance of greater alignment between media buyers to fully achieve the benefits of supply path optimisation.
The study from IAS surveyed 200 US brands and agencies to better understand perceptions of programmatic advertising and how they activate supply path optimisation strategies.
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