If you’re a CMO, you might want to sit down for this one. Bloomberg Media will stop serving open-market third-party programmatic display advertising on both its website and mobile app, beginning Jan. 1, 2023. In other words, CMOs will have to find another way to reach their target audience through Bloomberg.

Bloomberg’s reasoning is that the move will enable it to focus on high-quality journalism and trusted content experiences for its customers, rather than selling ad space to the highest bidder. The company also believes that this will help it win back advertisers who have been turned off by the increasing amount of digital ad fraud, according to their CEO.

In the early days of online advertising, publishers could rely on direct relationships with advertisers to maintain a balance between user experience and monetization. Those were the good old days. Now, as we all know too well, things are very different. The rise of programmatic advertising has made it possible for anyone with a few dollars to buy ads on even the most premium of publisher sites. And while that increased competition can be a good thing for publishers (more demand = higher CPMs), it also comes with some major caveats.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, problem with programmatic is the open marketplace where anyone can buy ads. This includes legitimate businesses and those with less than honorable intentions. A recent study found that nearly one-third of all programmatic ad spending is lost to fraud. That’s billions of dollars being stolen yearly by criminals who create fake websites and traffic sources to collect ad dollars from unsuspecting advertisers

But even if we could put a stop to fraud tomorrow, there would still be another serious problem facing programmatic advertising: malware. A recent report from White Ops found that malware-infected computers are responsible for nearly 10% of all programmatic ad impressions. That means that users who visit sites with programmatic ads are at risk of having their computers infected with viruses or other malicious software. And since most people don’t have anti-virus protection on their computers, the potential for harm is great..

It gets worse however for CTV, the Open Exchanges are basically just fraud. On reason is the SSAI technology. In case you’re not familiar with it, SSAI allows ads to be stitched into content streams in real-time. This results in a seamless viewing experience for consumers and makes it difficult for ad blockers to detect and block the ads. That’s why many CTV publishers are turning to SSAI as a way to ensure that their ads are seen by consumers.

However, there’s a major downside to SSAI: it’s incredibly easy for fraudsters to exploit. You see, with SSAI, ad measurement comes from the ad servers themselves. But fraudsters can easily insert themselves into these servers and create fictional viewers that never actually see the ads. This results in brands paying for ads that no one is actually watching.

And unfortunately, detecting SSAI fraud is no easy feat. That’s because the same characteristics that make SSAI attractive to brands— namely, the fact that it’s hard for ad blockers to detect— also make it hard for detection tools to spot. In Open Exchanges where anyone can buy anywhere and everywhere, the fraudsters do amazing since there is absolutely no transparency where the advertising really goes.

In recent years, private marketplaces have become an increasingly attractive option for advertisers looking to get the most bang for their buck. With high viewability, human engagement, and impressive publication placements, it’s no wonder that private marketplaces are growing in popularity

Not sure what a private marketplace is? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A recent study found that only 8% of marketers said they were “very familiar” with private marketplaces, while 54% said they were “somewhat familiar” and 38% said they were “not at all familiar.”

Here’s a quick rundown: a private marketplace is an invitation-only programmatic ad buying platform that offers premium inventory at scale. In other words, it’s a safe space for brands to buy ad impressions from select publishers at pre-negotiated rates. And because PMPs are powered by programmatic technology, advertisers can purchase this premium inventory using real-time bidding (RTB).

One of the main advantages of private marketplaces is that they offer high viewability rates. This means that your ad is more likely to be seen by actual human beings rather than bots. Furthermore, since private marketplaces only work with well-respected publications, you can be sure that your ad will be placed in a high-quality environment.

Another benefit of private marketplaces is that they offer human engagement. This means that you’re more likely to reach people who are actually interested in what you’re selling rather than those who simply see your ad and move on.

Finally, private marketplaces offer impressive publication placements. This means that your ad will be placed on well-respected websites that receive a lot of traffic. Consequently, you’ll have a greater chance of reaching your target audience and achieving your desired results.

So why aren’t more advertisers doing this, and why are agencies still focusing on heavily fraudulent open programmatic marketplaces? They are lazy and want easy scale.  Agencies are known to complain that in order to get a PMP humming, it takes time and resources—something that many publishers in the “fat middle” struggle with. Additionally, long-lingering Deal IDs can be a problem as they can result in low fill rates.

Again, this is because we’ve taught our new generation of media buyers to be lazy and unable to do real media buys like was done for most of the history of advertising. We’ve believed the hype that open programmatic can do all the work, even when study after study shows that its not only fraudulent but highly ineffective.

The time has come for open programmatic buying to end. We need a new system where buyers and sellers can trust that their transactions are fair and transparent. What do you think? Is it time for a change? Let us know in the comments below.

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