Mail Metro Media’s Hannah Buitekant on MFA Sites, RTL and TTD, and Retail Media

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Hannah Buitekant, managing director of digital at Mail Metro Media, joins ExchangeWire editor Grace Dillon and head of content John Still to discuss the ANA's findings regarding ad spend on made-for-advertising websites, RTL's addressable partnership with The Trade Desk, the rise of retail media, and more.

A fifth of ad impressions from made-for-advertising sites

Should the industry be worried by these findings? What needs to happen to reduce spend on MFA sites?

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has carried out its first probe into the transparency of the programmatic media supply chain. The report revealed that over a fifth (21%) of ad impressions are gathered on made-for-advertising (MFA) websites, and that 15% of ad spend is currently directed to them. The study also found that the average campaign runs across 44,000 websites.

The ANA estimates that diverting spend from MFA websites, combined with other efficiency measures, could save the open programmatic market USD$20bn (~£15.8bn). Furthermore, as MFA sites reportedly generate 26% more carbon emissions than standard websites, reducing spend on them will have a positive impact on the environment. The ANA also claims that its report has “virtually eliminated” the “unknown delta” of unattributable ad spend identified by the transparency reports from ISBA and PwC, although transparency remains an industry-wide issue.

RTL and The Trade Desk unite to bolster programmatic TV ad sales

Could this partnership create more opportunities for TV advertising? How challenging is advertising on TV, particularly around addressability?

European publisher RTL and demand-side platform The Trade Desk have partnered to provide what they call the “first step towards integrated programmatic TV buying”. The union will enable advertisers to purchase ad space on the publisher’s video marketplace and broadcasts through its international sales unit, RTL AdAlliance. 

The tie up will allow advertisers to buy inventory across more than four European markets for a single campaign, offering the potential for previously unachievable scale. According to sources from RTL AdAlliance, the deal will bolster the publisher’s ad-supported content, which traditionally relied on manual work by the firm’s sales team. The Trade Desk CRO Tim Sims said the union would bring “more opportunities to everyone in the ecosystem.”

Retail media on the rise

How are we already seeing industry players engaging with retail media? How can the main challenges within the space be overcome?

Retail media is expected to become the fastest-growing ad format from 2024, with ad spend set to overtake linear TV from 2025, Insider Intelligence forecasts. At present, 40% of US retailers provide some inventory via their own retail media network, according to analysis from CitrusAd.

Retail media networks Walmart and Instacart are expected to see the highest growth among digital ad businesses this year, per Insider. While the space may be dominated by a handful of large players, smaller firms may be able to rely on “middlemen” to get involved in retail media without having to launch their own network, says Insider analyst Max Willens. However, marketers should be wary that challenges persist, including attribution, a lack of standardisation, and advertisers’ opposition towards the walled garden model.