How Data Can Make Your Digital Advertising Supply Chain Look Entirely Different

By Ravi Patel, Director, Customer Transformation Product, PwC

Your digital advertising supply chain is in a vast, impenetrably murky cloud of impressions and clicks. Fortunately, data can help you gain clarity. By identifying, capturing and managing the immense amount of data that already resides in your company, you can add visibility to your advertising supply chain – and optimize your digital ad spend.

Are your advertising dollars working for you?

Your advertising budget is an investment in your brand image, so it’s vital to spend it wisely. Transparency in your advertising supply chain offers insights that allow you to make better decisions today about where to direct your ad spend tomorrow.

Think of it like an investment portfolio. Reviewing what went wrong after a stock market crash won’t bring back your investment. But continually monitoring market signals could give you the knowledge you need to adjust strategies beforehand.

Here’s what you can do with increased digital advertising supply chain visibility:

  • Extend – or stop – campaigns based on real-time, real-world data and insights
  • Focus your ad spend on the channels with the highest returns
  • Reduce supply-chain waste and costs
  • Base advertising plans on data and eliminate hunches and guesswork
  • Capture more contextual data for every part of your advertising program
  • Control your data across all agencies
  • Plan – and quickly replan – in response to data inputs and campaign developments

How to optimize your digital ad spend

Aggregating, organizing and analyzing your own data sets along with third-party data is essential for supply-chain transparency, because it can reveal additional opportunities for optimizations that can help boost your advertising ROI.

Start with a single source of truth for all digital marketing data

It’s easy to lose critical data in silos. That’s why consolidating data should be your first step when using data intelligence to improve your ad spend – even if it’s the most challenging and complex step. A trusted data partner can help alleviate many of your concerns.

And it’s definitely worth the effort. When you create a single source of truth database for information about the cost breakdown, CPM, impressions, clicks, conversions and more, you can gain intelligence that allows you to build your programmatic ecosystem on evidence rather than hunches.

Identify and help eliminate fraud and waste quickly

Click fraud and other types of wasted ad spend can be hard to spot, document and remediate.  In a 2020 supply chain transparency study for ISBA and the Association of Online Publishers, PwC found that 15 percent of total ad spend was for “unknown delta.” Or, in other words, waste.

With more data visibility, you can:

  • Quickly identify and block the source of fraudulent clicks
  • Quantify unviewable impressions (defined as showing less than 50 percent of an ad for less than one second), so you only pay for impressions that consumers see
  • Obtain evidence to demand make-goods from paid media outlets and advertising vendors
  • Spotlight channels with high rates of fraud or unviewable impressions to enhance the redirection of ad spend.

Use real-time data to refocus campaigns

Most agencies present campaign data long after you can do anything meaningful with it to improve ROI. By consolidating data into a single dashboard, you can use real-time analytics to refine campaigns mid-flight.

For example, imagine a brand running two campaigns simultaneously, each with a slightly different strategy and target audience. One of the campaigns delivers conversions at or above the expected ROI, while the other falls flat.

With data visibility, advertisers can find specific reasons why the campaign failed, whether there was too large a percentage of unviewable spend or simply an A/B test where one creative set was better received.

When you have real-time insights into the campaign data, you can assess the problem, conduct scenario planning and adjust ad spend mid-campaign.

Use value-chain visibility to guide your digital marketing plan

More supply chain visibility across the digital advertising industry is in high demand from brands. New solutions like Media Intelligence are being used to provide insights and simplify digital advertising. In fact, one retail brand recently uncovered $29 million of media spend over a three-month period by tapping into data in its advertising supply chain.

It’s definitely time to give it a closer look.

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