Media buying ‘platform paralysis’ is losing billions in revenue for agencies

First-party CTV and retail media campaigns are using more media buying platforms, costing marketers significant time and dollars switching and aggregating data between them.

Agencies are losing almost 10% of the working week managing a growing number of media buying platforms, found a Criteo survey of EMEA and US agency professionals. 

Based on estimates that digital advertising spend will reach $835.8 billion worldwide by 2026, time lost switching between platforms and aggregating data equates to a multi-billion dollar missed opportunity.

In markets where hours lost through switching platforms is highest, such as the UK, almost a third (29%) of media agency professionals feel the current technology they use for media buying is inefficient or unsuitable.

The challenge is that most agencies in the US and EMEA (78%) expect to add at least two or more media buying platforms to their portfolio this year. As a result, the average number of platforms in use is expected to rise from five to over seven in 2023, causing ‘platform paralysis’.

Agencies’ need for more buying platforms appears to be closely associated with the surging popularity of retail media and ad-supported streaming. 42% of media agencies across the US and EMEA attributed their platform growth to new retail media offerings, while 45% believe new streaming offerings such as ad-supported tiers on Disney+ and Netflix have contributed to the increase.

Retail media will deliver greater ROI than search or social

Almost two thirds (64%) of global advertisers believe newer digital channels like retail media will deliver greater ROI than search or social, revealed The Advertiser’s Guide to New and Emerging Channels in 2023.

These channels are of particular interest because they use first-party data. More than half (54%) expect their campaigns throughout 2023 will be predominantly based on first-party data which, in the case of retail media, enables advertisers to prove the impact of ad spend on purchase decisions, closing the measurement loop.

Globally, 60% of agency respondents admitted growth now depends on their ability to offer such services across newer, technology-driven platforms.

Nicole Kivel, Managing Director, Northern Europe at Criteo commented: “We’ve seen over the past year how the rise of retail media and other emerging channels like ad-supported streaming have opened up new, first-party audiences for advertisers. As the advertising industry evolves and becomes more complex, it’s out of necessity that attention turns to technology as a means to consolidate and streamline everything.

“This is what makes a more comprehensive approach like commerce media such a compelling proposition for the industry today,” Kivel continued. “With hundreds of new sources of data to choose from, advertisers can onboard both online and offline sources of data, using them to grow and enhance their audiences. With this insight, advertisers can begin to reach customers across the open web, wherever they choose to spend their time.”