It's about time: Consolidate your ad buys to maximise reach and increase efficiency

Rhys Williams, Jonathan Meltzer / February 2018

Since the earliest days of advertising, marketers have looked for ways to make their ad dollars go further. And they've been trying to address the challenges of wasted impressions, redundancy, and lack of measurement capabilities. Despite advances in technology, many businesses still find themselves asking the same question: How can we use ads in a more cost-effective and efficient way? New research shows that one answer lies in a consolidated approach to buying media.

With the arrival of the web, marketers commonly engaged in direct relationships with publishers to reserve premium digital ad inventory, such as home page display placements and prime video content typically prized by brand marketers. And as they have become more tech savvy, they’ve also embraced programmatic auction buying as a more efficient method of reaching people at scale. Here’s the problem: these two approaches haven’t been optimised to work side by side. By using separate systems instead of a single, streamlined workflow, marketers are losing out on performance and efficiency.

To quantify the benefits of consolidating these two media buying approaches, Google worked with Nielsen and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and found that buying media with a single tool enables marketers to reach more unique users—for the same investment in impressions—and saves time.

By using separate systems instead of a single, streamlined workflow, marketers are losing out on performance and efficiency.

Improve reach efficiency

Google worked with Nielsen to measure 10 campaigns run by large advertisers in regions around the world, including Australia, to see how a siloed ad-buying approach, with traditional reservation deals and programmatic auction buys managed separately, stacked up against a consolidated approach with both traditional reservation deals and programmatic auction buys managed in a single platform.1

With a consolidated approach, brands can control how many people they reach and how often they reach them during the purchase journey. Instead of inadvertently reaching the same people over and over again, brands can now direct their budgets to reach more consumers.  It also means that premium inventory is not wasted. This is particularly important in Australia, where premium video content is scarce and expensive—with some publishers selling this inventory a year in advance.

But perhaps most importantly of all, this new approach translates into a better experience for consumers because it reduces over-exposure to ads.

The consolidated campaigns were run using Programmatic Guaranteed, which allows buyers to use programmatic ad technology to reserve inventory directly with publishers.

“Media consolidation for online video has been possible through Programmatic Guaranteed. It allows Wavemaker to enhance client’s video investment and provides improved targeting efficiency, alongside the increase in quality and fully transparent inventory sources.”
Greg Cattelain, National Programmatic Director, Wavemaker Australia

Across the 10 campaigns studied, Nielsen found that when brands consolidated their campaigns using Programmatic Guaranteed, they experienced an 11% increase in reach efficiency. That means that for the same impression investment they reached 11% more unique consumers.

Nielsen found that when brands consolidated their campaigns using Programmatic Guaranteed, they experienced an 11% increase in reach efficiency.

“With Programmatic Guaranteed, you can get maximum value from your efforts because you reach more people with the same level of investment.”
Simon Gellibrand, Head of Performance Media, Performics Australia

Save time

In a separate study, BCG closely evaluated the ad buying and selling workflows of over 40 agencies, advertisers, and publishers around the world.2 These companies used both Programmatic Guaranteed and traditional reservations to transact direct media buys.

BCG found that for direct deals, there were significant end-to-end efficiencies (time saved) when using Programmatic Guaranteed instead of traditional tag-based reservations. Agencies and publishers using Programmatic Guaranteed in Australia, where we conducted nine workshops, are seeing a 30% reduction in time spent in campaign set-up, execution, and ongoing management.

“We are seeing brands using both programmatic and traditional tag reservations. This creates inefficiencies and additional manual work. For this reason we are supporting many of our clients to consolidate their ad buying through Programmatic Guaranteed. We have compared this approach with a siloed media buying scenario and have seen that brands benefit from a consistent workflow and increased reach efficiency.”
Pete Kim, Co-founder and CEO, MightyHive

“With Programmatic Guaranteed, we are able to provide advertisers with guaranteed access to high-quality inventory, and they benefit from extensive time savings and efficiencies across the entire digital campaign process.”
Hayley Cameron, Digital Commercial Manager, SBS Australia


From a process and workflow standpoint, managing multiple types of ad buys in parallel for the same campaign creates operational waste for agencies, marketers, and publishers. They end up duplicating work on budgeting, forecasting, creative reviews, and other tasks. Collectively, this extra work adds up to a substantial amount of time that could be spent on other higher-impact initiatives.

With greater reach for buyers and increased efficiency for both buyers and sellers, consolidating ad buys is clearly the winning strategy.

To learn more about the Nielsen and BCG studies, make sure to read the White Paper and check out the BCG article “The Rise of Programmatic Guaranteed Advertising in Asia-Pacific."


Rhys Williams

Director, Media Platforms, AUNZ at Google

Jonathan Meltzer

Director of Ads Marketing, Measurement and Platforms, Google


1 Results based on a Google-commissioned Nielsen study, EMEA (Italy, France, U.K.), APAC (Hong Kong, Australia), Americas (U.S.), May-Dec 2017. Campaigns in the siloed media buying portion of the study reached an average of 322,575 unique consumers for each million impressions purchased compared to campaigns in the  consolidated media portion of the study which reached an average of 359,617 unique consumers for each million impressions purchased, as measured by Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings.

2  “A Guaranteed Opportunity in Programmatic Advertising,” July-September 2017, 40 participants from 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the UAE, the U.K., and the U.S.).