The Guardian is buying its own ad inventory to try to figure out where money is spent

To figure out where money is spent across the supply chain, The Guardian is buying its own inventory. And in some cases, it’s finding that only 30 pence for every pound is making it back to The Guardian, chief revenue officer Hamish Nicklin says. Nicklin wouldn’t say which businesses were taking the money, but said he has a “reasonably good idea.” Consulting firm Stack I/O managing partner Martin Brown explains how programmatic ad sales at tech companies are creating a complicated market with little accountability: “All of them do a certain variation of one small part of the programmatic supply chain and it’s incredibly difficult to navigate your way through it. That makes life very difficult for marketers and we’re getting to this stage now where less and less dollars are actually going on working media, and that’s a major challenge because the idea is to simplify efficiency and effectiveness and we’re actually going the other way.”