Forrester Study Finds Lack of Transparency is Biggest Obstacle to Publisher’s Programmatic Success


According to a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Index Exchange and released today, a lack of transparency in programmatic environments and the sophistication of buyer systems are limiting publishers’ ability to maximize the true value of their inventory. The study, Greater Transparency is Critical to Programmatic Success for Publishers, also highlights that smart publishers who are equipped with the right tools and information – and bandwidth to take advantage of them – have an opportunity to thrive in programmatic environments.

The research, which was comprised of 13 in-depth interviews with senior publishing executives responsible for generating revenue through ad sales, took place between August and October 2014 and evaluated the current state of programmatic selling among publishers.

“Publishers must take the lead on innovating the next phase of programmatic, because the buy side is continuing to move quickly and will not wait for them to figure it out,” said Alex Gardner, VP Platform Solutions, Index Exchange. “Publishers have a tremendous opportunity to turn data and insights into value for brands. Smart publishers are already doing this. Those who aren’t, really need to move quickly to put the tools in place to improve transparency and maximize results for marketers.”

Lack of Transparency Creates Obstacles Across the Ecosystem:

A lack of transparency affects both the buy and sell side, as it costs publishers much-needed revenue and is negatively impacting results for brand marketers. With brands judging campaigns based on publisher performance against certain criteria, challenges with transparency prevent publishers from knowing what’s succeeding and what needs adjustment. When publishers are provided with more insight and knowledge into marketers’ goals, they can then optimize their strategies to deliver the best performance.

“If we don’t perform and we really don’t know why, we aren’t given an opportunity to improve packages or targeting,” said one national publishing executive.

While some publishers are grateful for the business they have, others are increasingly frustrated about the lack of trust and transparency, which is hindering them from using data and strategies to deliver successful campaigns.

“We never know what they (demand side) are doing,” said one publishing executive. “They blame us when they can’t see. It’s easier for them to get data rather than pay us to include what they want in our targets. We’d all have an easier time if they would just tell us what they are looking for.”

Programmatic Gaining Traction:
Forrester predicts that the digital advertising market is expected to experience an 11 percent compounded annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019. Display will keep pace with that overall market growth, and will account for close to $34 billion in 2019.

Today, programmatic accounts for 27 percent of display on a volume basis; it is expected that by 2019, 40 percent will be exchange-sold, which includes both the open auction and full array of private marketplace transactions.

According to the study, the growth in programmatic is highlighted by three main ideas:

•   Publishers and marketers have more clarity on consumer expectations, leading to device-specific experiences

•   Brand budgets are migrating to digital, due to its enhanced targeting capabilities

•   The promise of personalized messaging (addressable media)

About the study:
The Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Index Exchange was conducted between August and October 2014. In this study, Forrester interviewed 13 digital content provider organizations in the US to evaluate publishers’ views on transparency in programmatic. Survey participants included decision-makers in digital publishing and programmatic selling for digital.

About Index Exchange
Index Exchange ( provides a neutral, transparent exchange layer that enables leading publishers and suppliers to sell their ad impressions in real time. A division of online media technology veteran, Casale Media, Index equips enterprise level sellers with custom architected solutions, fully transparent sell side management technology, and access to programmatic demand that is organized and certified by humans into an ever evolving taxonomy.

About Forrester Research, Inc.
Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow.


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