Programmatic Display Ads: The Black Side.

Programmatic Display Ads comes as a miracle in optimizing the costs of digital communication and streamlining the entire process of running and maintaining it, promising impressions to the target audience that the marketer wants virtually anywhere on the web, or at least in most of the sites eligible for it.

All this automatically, without “pain”, cheaper and with incredible results increasing the CTR and VTR.

With so much blessing together, 80% of DisplayAds in 2017 will be on Programmatic Display Ads. (Forecast in USA)

Icing on the cake, is it not?


The big “snag” is that the marketer does not control where his ads will be on display.

It may appear on fake news sites, offensive content pages, or content that is contrary to company values, simply because this automatic ad assignment method chooses the locations where the audience is, regardless of which content the website has.

What happens is that the user links the brands and ads to the website content, generating negative association rather than positive.

These situations are not to be considered lightly, since they can even generate waves of contestation and in some cases boycott to the brand.

How is the Status Quo?

  • With the increasing number of websites that propagate FakeNews or simply inappropriate content, consumers are increasingly turning to reliable sources.

75% of Users are concerned about the growing number of fakenews biased websites.

60% report that this caused them to turn to more reliable sources and channels in the search for information

  • Placing ads on certain channels has a direct impact on consumer perceptions of brands.

88% of consumers reported that poor advertising experience with a particular brand may cause them to change their mind about it and decide NOT to do business.

64% respond better to existing ads on trusted sites than ads on social networks or fakenews channels

39% say they prefer the brands they advertise in their favorite digital media.

  • Consumers lose confidence on brands when they advertise in places with doubtful content

37% stay with a bad opinion about the brand and diminishes the intention to buy.

11% boycott or simply does not make any more purchases in the brand.

9% report and raise issues related to what happened to their peers.


The desire to be present where our target audience is also led to the majority of marketers investing more and more in programmatic display ads, which, as we know, is an action that takes control of the place of exposure, this process is automated and based on the characteristics of the defined audience.

This, in turn, raised issues related to brand awareness and the maintenance of the brand image, making the CMO’s of the World Major Brands, such as UnitedRentals and Reebok, consider Programmatic Display Ads.

While an ad may be quite successful in isolation, generating a higher CTR, VTR, the brand’s association with content may not compensate.

In a survey of 2000 consumers in the US, almost 50 percent would consider abandoning brands that cannot control where their ads appear, because they are shown in places where content is questionable and sometimes inconsistent with the brand itself.

1/3 of users believe that the brand support’s the type of content and the websites that share it, since it advertises on those same sites.

Which in itself kills all the positive effect of showing the right ads to the right people, the great advantage Programmatic Display Ads.

Where the ad is exposed is as important as the ad itself and its content.

3 out of 5 consumers are actively looking for content in reliable and even traditional sources. This relocation of the public to these places motivates, once again, the choice of the place of the ads by the companies.

Consumers do not forgive the brands for being present in maladjusted places, which has caused some of the most prominent brands in the world to stop using programmatic display ads, returning to the “traditional” digital system.


Programmatic Display Ads comes as a miracle in optimizing the costs of digital communication and streamlining the entire process of running and maintaining it, promising the impressions of the intended audience, almost anywhere on the web or at least on most sites.

However, there are problems when the same advertising is found in sites of dubious, insulting or even False (FakeNews) content where the user Mixes the content with the advertising that supports the same website, which, as we have seen from the statistics , harms the brand in a variety of ways.

Taking control of digital advertising instead of delegating to the automatic programmatic ads was once again considered by the CMO’s of the world’s biggest brands.

We, Marketers, should be in line with our public and meet their requests safeguarding the image of the brand since 2/3 of the users reported that the perception of them is damaged if it is this requirement is not met.

Which, in essence, translates into our worst nightmare.


Confidence is today one of the most important assets that a brand can have.
And it should be shown to its customers in order to attract more customers and keep the current ones.


João R Freitas

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