Changing media practices and technologies are driving marketers’ concerns around media buying effectiveness and media agency transparency, according to Transparency, Machines, And Metrics: An ANA/Forrester Survey Of The Evolution Of The Media Buying Industry.

The survey of 153 client-side marketers, which took place in February and March 2014, looked at current and projected trends in media transparency, programmatic buying adoption, and metrics.

Media Transparency
Nearly half of surveyed advertisers cite concerns about the level of transparency between clients and their media agencies as an issue. Further, such concerns appear to be on the rise — 42% say concerns about transparency increased over the past year, and only 13% say concerns decreased.

The top issues reported by advertisers included:

  • Served versus viewable impressions for digital media.
  • Media rebates to agencies.
  • Digital ad placement (e.g., frequency caps, inappropriate content, share of voice, above-the-fold).
  • Lack of visibility into data used to define audience targeting.

Programmatic Buying Adoption
Marketers lack understanding around programmatic buying, with almost 40% claiming low, or no, awareness. Use of programmatic buying in the past year is also mixed — 54% have used it, and among the 46% who have not, 18.5% plan to do so in the next year. Among those surveyed who currently use programmatic buying, the methods they use the most are online display (77%) and online video (41%). 

Importantly, one-quarter of marketers have expanded their in-house capabilities to manage/oversee or implement programmatic buying, and another 13% are evaluating whether to do so. The potential barriers to programmatic adoption reflect the findings concerning transparency issues, with visibility into targeting data (49%) and understanding ad placement (43%) listed as key issues.

“Marketers are still in the early stages of understanding how to use programmatic to win, serve, and retain customers,” said Forrester Principal Analyst Jim Nail. “But as the survey shows, marketers realize they must take programmatic seriously and learn how to incorporate this buying method into their overall media buying strategy.”

As marketers place growing importance on understanding consumers’ path to purchase, quantitative, results-focused metrics now dominate priorities. As such, marketing mix modeling and web analytics are the most important tools identified by surveyed marketers for measuring the impact of media plans. When it comes to measuring campaigns across multiple media, understanding each medium’s impact (78%) and identifying individuals across channels (54%) are priority measurement areas for marketers.

Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA, explained: “Industry metrics must evolve to improve relevance and transparency across the ecosystem. Our industry must align to improve measurement in order to support marketers’ needs to make better decisions that can then drive business results.”

About The Study

The ANA/Forrester survey was conducted online in February and March 2014 among a sample of 153 client-side marketers. Respondents were drawn from ANA membership and have an average of 17 years of experience in the marketing/advertising industry.

About The ANA
The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. Founded in 1910, ANA’s membership includes more than 575 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA pursues “collaborative mastery” that advances the interests of marketers and promotes and protects the well-being of the marketing community. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter, or join us on Facebook.

About Forrester Research
Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow. For more information, visit