The Programmatic Poop Funnel

By Bob Hoffman

Who doesn’t love a good funnel?

Today, we’re going to make a nice colourful funnel using the latest data from some of the ad industry’s most reliable sources to trace a dollar spent for programmatically-bought display advertising on its exciting journey from your pocket to the bank accounts of middlemen, con men, crooks, and the Bermuda Triangle.

Adtech was created to make the buying and selling of online advertising so much more efficient.

Today, about USD350 billion dollars is spent on online advertising. 70%+ of it is bought programmatically.

It turns out it has been wonderfully efficient for the lads and lassies in the adtech industry.

Not so efficient for losers like you and me. Let’s see how it’s working…

You start with a dollar to spend.

Your agency gets a 7¢ fee.

Technology and targeting fees take another 27¢ (DSPs, SSPs,and WTFs).

15¢ mysteriously disappears into the “unknown delta.” No one knows where the “unknown delta” is. My guess? Jupiter or North Korea.

30% of the ads you buy won’t be viewable.

About 20% of the stuff you buy will be fraudulent.

Only 9% of your display ads will be viewed by a real person for even a second. Bastards.

Blogweasel math notwithstanding, looks like your dollar bought you 3¢ of real display ads viewed by real human people.


bob hoffman

Bob Hoffman is author of “Advertising For Skeptics”, “BadMen: How Advertising Went From A Minor Annoyance To A Major Menace” and several other books about advertising.

This piece was first published in MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 315

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