On the Digiday Challenge Board, a half dozen marketers posted some form of challenge around transparency. But when it comes to programmatic advertising, the solutions — even the nature of the issue — remain unclear. There are newer opportunities for advertisers and agencies to pry open programmatic’s black box. However,  those opportunities can be seized up by the various cogs across the programmatic supply chain as well as the amount of education and information required to be aware of those opportunities and how to take advantage of them. Brand and agency execs gathered at the Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit in Austin, Texas, last week to discuss the challenges they face and the opportunities they have found in trying to take control of the programmatic supply chain.

What we learned:
Programmatic’s transparency issue is often a people problem
The programmatic supply chain is not as much of a black box as it once was. But it’s still fairly opaque. However much of the opacity is the result of a lack of communication among advertisers, agencies, ad tech vendors and publishers. During a heated working group session that centered on taking control of the programmatic supply chain, publishers in attendance called for more transparency into who are the advertisers buying their inventory programmatically. Brand and agency execs responded that they want to provide that information but are constrained by the DSPs that would need to pass that information but may be averse to doing so. “If I say to all eight DSPs that I work with that they have to pass that data, they may respect me or they may not,” said one agency exec.

  • Everyone across the programmatic supply chain seems to want more transparency and is waiting on everyone else to provide it.
  • More collaboration and communication across the buy and sell sides could pressure intermediaries to remove information bottlenecks.

Bottom line: The programmatic supply chain is like a game of telephone, and companies need to make sure they’re talking to everyone that is on the line.

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