Programmatic advertising concerns remain in 2015

Programmatic advertising concerns remain in 2015 Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at


If there was one buzzword in the digital advertising space in 2014 it has to have been programmatic.

Last year saw eight out of ten buyers and sellers actively using it, but there remain three big concerns around usage – the biggest of which concerns brand safety.

A new report from Undertone looks at how marketers, publishers and agencies if they are using it, how and what they are buying, what they want and what concerns them. It showed 82% of marketers are using it, 81% of agencies and 80% of publishers, all citing performance, better targeting and efficient pricing as reasons for choosing the technology.

And it is the latter that is perhaps the most worrying. Among both marketers and agencies, having a brand safe environment was the number one safety or quality concern when buying inventory programmatically – scoring 40% and 43% respectively.

This number rises to 65% of marketers and 71% of agencies when ranking it as both first or second priorities.

Issues with quality

Quality also worried respondents, although here proportions varied a little. Among marketers, 27% were concerned about viewable inventory while 22% were concerned about the lack of non-human traffic. For agencies the priorities were reversed with 29% citing lack of non-human traffic and 24% viewable inventory.

So with such fears surrounding brand safety – in a world where brand protection has to be a priority – what more can be done?

This is an issue that the industry will have to work together on and address if programmatic is to continue to be a strategy for the future.

A number of industries are already working together and the Digital Trading Standards Group has put together UK Good Practice Principles aimed at setting out best practise for reducing the risk of unsafe advertising online. Whether they manage it or not will depend on how well the industry continues to collaborate to address such concerns. 

Read more about Undertone’s findings in the below infographic:

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