Over a fifth (22%) of UK brands are planning to decrease programmatic advertising spend this year amid concerns over costs, performance and transparency.

According to QueryClick report ‘Programmatic Ad Fraud Transparency’, which surveyed 150 brands with revenue over £100 million, 41% plan to cut their budgets because of poor transparency over the cost of ads themselves while 39% said they’re doing so in response to poor placement over their ads on websites.

In addition, 46% said they plan to reduce programmatic ad spend due to a lacking availability of alternative tech options, such as alternative ad buying platforms or demand side platforms.

Concerns continue to grow

With 2018 underway, concerns from marketers on areas of transparency, brand safety and media buying capabilities remain.

QueryClick found more than three quarters (80%) of online ad buyers revealed brand safety as a problem within programmatic processes with the risk of their ads appearing next to inappropriate or extremist content.

In relation to media buying capabilities, a separate report from the Association of National Advertisers found that 35% of brands are expanding their programmatic media buying capabilities in-house in a effort to boost demands for better data transparency.

“Despite it being on the rise, programmatic advertising is wide open to abuse,” said Chris Liversidge, managing director of QueryClick.

Liversidge added that publishers are leading the charge in tackling ad fraud where they’re educating both brands and agencies on programmatic processes but also encouraged marketers to take steps to protect themselves to ensure better transparency for the future.

“First, where possible, they should separate their programmatic campaigns so they are given the consideration – and performance measures – their growing size warrants. Secondly, they should unbundle their agency relationship from the programmatic platform, to enable them to seek out independent providers that offer true transparency and protection from the risks of current programmatic campaigns.

“In doing so they will not only significantly reduce their exposure to waste and damage to their band reputation from fraud, but also start to see programmatic begin to deliver on its promise.” he concluded.