Gabey Goh
Sep 16, 2016

Marketplace quality a top concern for APAC marketers: OpenX study

Latest report by ExchangeWire Research shows shift in marketer perceptions on value of programmatic advertising

Marketplace quality a top concern for APAC marketers: OpenX study

ASIA PACIFIC - Digital marketers in Asia are most concerned about quality issues, with 100 percent of respondents stating that marketplace quality is either a very serious or serious issue, according to a new report by OpenX.

The report by ExchangeWire Research and OpenX was commissioned to gain a deeper understanding of the shift in media buyers’ and publishers’ perceptions of the online advertising marketplace.

In the US, only three in every 10 say that marketplace quality is a very serious issue, the lowest figure globally. However, 58 percent report it to be a serious issue bringing the total figure to 87 percent, which is more line with the other regions (EMEA = 91 percent, APAC = 100 percent).

The report noted that there has been a shift in marketers' perception of the severity of the issue of marketplace quality. In 2015, 94 percent of all respondents said they thought the issue was either serious or very serious. One year on, this figure falls to 86 percent.

In 2015, close to two thirds (64 percent) of all media buying respondents said marketplace quality concerns had not caused them to reduce or halt investment in programmatic advertising. One year on, this figure has risen to over three quarters (76 percent).

When drilling down to device, the report found that the proportion of people who say marketplace quality is a serious issue in desktop display has fallen from 54 percent in 2015 to 40 percent in 2016.

The same is true for desktop video where the number has fallen from 44 percent to 37 percent. In mobile display the trend is reversed — in 2015 the majority thought that marketplace quality was ‘a somewhat serious issue’ — this year the majority (51 percent) have upped their perception of risk to ‘serious’.

This is true in mobile video too — this year, the largest portion (47 percent) of respondents cite marketplace quality as a ‘serious’ issue, last year the majority vote was that marketplace quality is ‘somewhat serious’.

Danny Spears, programmatic director at Guardian noted that the complexity attached to the mobile ad ecosystem has allowed the mobile ad networks to thrive where their desktop counterparts largely died out with the introduction of programmatic technology.

“It means that the mobile ad networks continue to hold the keys to the large pools of mobile inventory, and this creates issues with transparency and quality in some areas of the market especially where blocks of inventory are being passed between networks,” he added.

However, Oscar Garza, global head of programmatic, Essence said that the idea of ‘quality’ remains hotly debated. On desktop, I expect the industry to have a higher average viewability, across the board, as advertisers and agencies demand to transact on only those impressions. If that's the only measure of quality, we should see a positive trend.

“On mobile, we don't have a generally accepted measurement, like viewability, that can be a proxy for quality. That said, we see tremendous growth in mobile inventory globally,” he added. “To say that the quality is dropping on mobile may be a judgement on the ratio of quality to the total but probably not the absolute volume.”

Danny Spears, programmatic director at Guardian noted that the complexity attached to the mobile ad ecosystem has allowed the mobile ad networks to thrive where their desktop counterparts largely died out with the introduction of programmatic technology.

“It means that the mobile ad networks continue to hold the keys to the large pools of mobile inventory, and this creates issues with transparency and quality in some areas of the market especially where blocks of inventory are being passed between networks,” he added.

However, Oscar Garza, global head of programmatic, Essence said that the idea of ‘quality’ remains hotly debated. 

“On mobile, we don't have a generally accepted measurement, like viewability, that can be a proxy for quality. That said, we see tremendous growth in mobile inventory globally,” he added. “To say that the quality is dropping on mobile may be a judgement on the ratio of quality to the total but probably not the absolute volume.”

The end of PMPs?

The report also found that confidence in the ability of PMPs (private marketplaces) to deliver high quality inventory has suffered over the last 12 months.

This year (2016) saw a 61 percent increase year-over-year in the number of respondents who say ‘PMPs do not ensure a high quality marketplace, poor quality traffic always finds a way through’.

Furthermore, only 9 percent of marketers believe ‘PMPs are essential and the only way to ensure you are buying from a high quality marketplace’, half the figure reported in 2015 (18 percent).

James Gilkes, global pricing & inventory director at BBC Advertising believes that the future for PMPs is “not good.”

“I think the future is automated, guaranteed and OMP (open media platform). As a result PMP will be squeezed. I'm not sure PMP deals offer enough for clients compared to OMP and for media owners they are constantly trying to troubleshoot and get the deals working,” he added.

John Broughton, head of performance marketing at Confused.com agrees that the future of PMPs is uncertain.

John Broughton agrees that the future of PMPs is uncertain; adding that his company tests all PMP relationships against open buys for the same publishers – Sometimes the PMP is more profitable sometimes it isn't.

Broughton shared that he has had a “handful of poor experiences” with PMPs, that have left him with the impression that some media owners have used them to artificially inflate CPMs without corresponding value.

“Some have used their supply side controls to push spend to their needs instead of mine and that some have used their control of floors and ceilings to effectively make my PMP buy behave more like an old school IO (insertion order) purchase than an auction buy algorithmically optimised to find me value,” he added. “None of those publishers are now getting any of my PMP budgets.”

Rebecca Muir, head of research and analysis at ExchangeWire said it is “very encouraging” that marketers' perception of risk within programmatic is falling, and that programmatic is still seen by the majority to offer good value for money.

She added that mobile and video are the areas that marketers are most concerned about driven by the relative immaturity of combined with increasing investment.

“The challenge will be for verification companies and media sellers to crack down on the bad players in this space as they have done in desktop,” she said.

John Murphy, vice president of marketplace quality at OpenX the motivation behind the report, now in its second year, was the desire to raise awareness, as marketplace quality is a top concern for publishers and advertisers who are increasingly expanding their digital ad budgets and moving to new formats.

“We hope to inspire the industry to work towards solutions that will allow all participants to realise the full potential of programmatic,” he added.

Related Articles

Just Published

3 hours ago

2020 – the year that marketing means business

R3 and Campaign's latest CMO Outlook shows marketers are closer to the head of the table than ever as marketing’s integration with multiple areas of business has brought its significance and potential into full scope.

3 hours ago

Does the PR industry have an ageism problem?

Yes, say veterans who accuse agencies of missing the big picture while “fetishizing youth.”

3 hours ago

Yellowtail finds joy in the details with bright new ...

Upbeat cheery effort for Aussie winery runs in stark contrast to many dreary portrayals of life in 2020.

13 hours ago

This film promoting the Line BK app is a major ...

When GreyUnitednj teams up with Thailand's Kasikorn bank we know wackiness ensues. But is throwing concentration out the window a good thing?