The complexity of the digital advertising supply chain is out of control. A May 2020 study by the ISBA revealed that: 1000+ distinct supply chains were identified; across the 15 advertisers, experts and data scientists were able to end-to-end match 290 chains (31m impressions) all the way to the 12 publishers.
They also found that: "half the money advertisers invest in programmatic advertising never reaches online publishers, with 15% of the money unattributable to any players in the supply chain."
It's become impossible for advertisers to know who your money is going to, exactly what the intermediaries are doing or the value of what you're getting in return.
Do you know all of the publishers, SSPs, DSPs, DMPs, resellers, Exchanges, Ad Servers, verification vendors etc. that your budget is supporting? What ID systems, data clean rooms, privacy sandboxes, tracking pixels and 3rd party cookies are being used on your behalf?
Complex supply paths have other serious drawbacks as one respected commentator described:
"However, targeting an audience segment in an unconstrained manner across exchanges is questionable for a number of reasons: (1) the likelihood of running on a fraudulent publisher is elevated, (2) the likelihood of funding piracy or misinformation is elevated, (3) the likelihood of running on low-quality arbitrage sites is elevated, (4) many sites are so small that they get lumped into aggregated line items, reducing the transparency of the campaign, and (5) it makes optimization more difficult." - Ratko Vidakovic, AdProfs
Or how about paying more by bidding against yourself: "In these auctions, the same publisher inventory is made available through multiple ad tech vendors at the same time, there are a greater chance advertiser could inadvertently bid against themselves and subsequently be responsible for paying more for inventory." - DIGIDAY, March 2020
Advertisers "want simplicity - a cleaned-up Lumascape, with greater transparency. There’s little point in having multiple SSPs, with the same features, selling to the same demand sources. That just adds complexity and cost." - The Drum, May 2019.
How many supply paths are you using? What is the fully loaded cost of each supply path? What inventory does each supply path sell? What are the technical connectors that handle your bids? Learn more here.
Aside from the money wasted on all these intermediaries hidden fees, markups and rebates, it's impossible to know what, if any, value they're adding, or be sure they're not doing things that you don't approve of.
Every unnecessary complexity in the advertising chain brings with it a crop of tech firms offering to ease the pain created:
And how will you check that any of these firms are providing value for money?
None of this is necessary. You've been sold a deeply defective product and then been charged on top to half patch over the faults. Why not just bypass the whole lot and deal directly with your potential customers - the FairView way.