The open web is still mired in wasteful ad spending, according to a report by the Association of National Advertisers, which said the digital ad ecosystem is still contending with low-quality inventory and opaque mechanics that send money to suspect websites.
The industry trade group found that brands often lack the expertise to navigate online advertising supply chains — when money goes from advertisers through online ad exchanges to the publishers. The programmatic ad industry has been under scrutiny for years by advertisers and publishers, who are worried about how much money is siphoned off from ad tech intermediaries.
Among the findings, brands send 15% of their ad spend to clickbait websites instead of premium inventory. These websites, known as “made for advertising” sites, “usually feature low-quality content, such as fake news, conspiracy theories, or spammy links, and may use tactics such as pop-up ads, auto-play videos, or intrusive ads to maximize ad revenue for the site owner,” said the ANA, whose findings were reported by Ad Age.
The report found that 23%, or about $20 billion out of $83 billion in open programmatic ad spend, was wasted going to ineffective ad placements on bad websites. The ANA commissioned its transparency report in 2021, one of several that have been conducted over the years to try to make sense of internet advertising.