Programmatic theft

Yes, I’ve long railed against the fraud that is ad tech.

The millions upon millions of dollars stolen via unregulated and unaudited programmatic media-buying. The absurd conflicts of interest in payment systems. The acceptance that rampant ad fraud and fake clicks are inevitable.

It’s actually a lot worse than I thought. According to the Association of National Advertisers and PwC, 70 percent of advertising dollars spent on online programmatic advertising are never seen (let alone clicked) by a human being.

Of $200 billion in annual programmatic ad spend, $140 billion disappears in ad fees, fraud, non-viewable impressions, non-brand-safe placements, and unknown allocations.

According to the ANA, the programmatic media-buying ecosystem is riddled with material issues, including a lack of transparency, fractured accountability, and mind-numbing complexity.

$140 billion dollars is a lot of money to lose. In old-fashioned media dollars, it buys you around 1.4 million full-page ads in the New York Times.

That’s a lot of advertising no one is going to miss.

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