PubMatic has made efforts to clarify it operates with “zero” buy-side fees for advertisers, publishers and agencies using its platform.

The announcement has been made as members involved are calling for a “radical overhaul” of the model due to increased fees and poor transparency; campaigns that were previously negotiated directly with publishers are now transacted in a variety of ways – including private marketplaces (PMPs) and openRTB – each with unique auction mechanics and fee structures.

“We have always been a publisher-first company and have been outspoken about the need to bring greater transparency to programmatic,” said Rajeev Goel, co-founder and CEO of PubMatic.

“We continuously evaluate shifting industry demands so that we can provide the best level of service and product innovation to our clients. It is important that our pricing models reflect this position.”

Quelling concerns

Programmatic ad spend is set to reach around £4 billion in 2018 and ad exchanges are now making efforts to establish better relationships with advertisers, publishers and media agencies in order to win back faith and capitalise on growing spend.

Concerns among ad buyers aren’t recent, however. In October 2016, for example, it emerged that for every £1 spent on inventory owned by The Guardian, in some cases just 30p made it to the publisher itself. Among a knowledge shortage around the workings of programmatic, transparency concerns over ad spend and fees are seen as one of the key limiters of the technology’s acceptance.

Over a fifth (22%) of UK brands are planning to decrease programmatic ad spend this year over these issues while, in many cases, advertisers are taking matters into their own hands with 62% planning to take programmatic media buying in-house by 2022.

Programmatic as a global entity, however, continues to enjoy rapid growth, now accounting for over a quarter of global ad spend.

Whichever way you look at it, greater control is in demand across the park where automated media buying is becoming the norm.