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Reed Smith Ad Bites: ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study

We had the honor of contributing to the ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study Complete Report. Below is the first in a series of posts where we will be highlighting findings from the report and key take-aways for in-house legal counsel and procurement teams, the full report can be found at

Development of an inclusion list (and any permitted exemptions) and the directness with which the inventory is acquired should be baked into your media planning and buying agreement or contractual programmatic golden rules policy.

The number of websites and apps used for a campaign needs to be properly managed.  The average campaign from the 21 marketer study participants ran on 44,000 websites and apps.  The range was between 3,627 and 222,534.  This is consistent with the ISBA report in 2020, where the average was 40,524 sites.  A separate ANA study highlighted the lack of awareness regarding the number of sites that brands advertise across, with 39% not tracking and 15% not knowing whether they do or don’t.  Buyers should be able to get the scale they need by selecting 75 to 100 trusted publisher sales houses – that will give access to thousands of high-quality websites.  Optimizing the number of websites will diminish the risk of purchasing non-viewable and fraudulent inventory and enhance brand safety.  

The study regarded websites 3001+ as representing the “long tail”.  Exceptions where the “long tail” makes sense relate to situations where the brand is seeking to ensure that some of its spend is placed on minority-owned media or minority-targeted services or where another specific target demographic is being sought.  

Image source: Page 29, ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study: COMPLETE REPORT

The study also provides a "Recommended Playbook" for marketers. Key recommendations include:

  1. Establish how many websites and apps your campaigns are running by pulling a DSP report.  
  2. Select 75 to 100 trusted sellers –this should give you the scale you need to reach up to 3000 sites.  For example, the Jounce Media list of 100 Bellwether publishers suggests that they control 85% of premium content. 
  3. Prioritize inclusion lists over exclusion lists.  
  4. Buy through direct supply paths.   
"... there is some $22 billion in efficiency gains available to the client-side marketer community"


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