It’s no surprise that display ad transactions are becoming increasingly automated — with 72% of US digital ad spend projected to be handled through programmatic channels in 2017.

We used Mezzobit’s powerful Instant Scan, coupled with our database of thousands of ad- and marketing-tech companies and tens of thousands of tags, to find out exactly what’s going on.

Our researchers scanned pages from the top 100 ad-supported media sites as ranked by Quantcast and catalogued all of the ad tech that we found there. We specifically examined ad waterfalls and bidding transactions to understand which vendors were doing what where. No customer data was used in this survey — only scans available from the public internet.

Some quick findings:

  • The average site had 185 JavaScript tags, pixels and other calls from third parties from the ad-, marketing-, and pub-tech industries, representing 46 different companies. In total, we saw 463 companies on these sites.
  • Seventy-six percent of sites used direct programmatic, real-time bidding, and /or private marketplaces.
  • Thirty-eight percent used header bidding, with the average of six bidders. Nearly a third had more than one header bidding wrapper, with some using nested wrappers (wrappers in wrappers).
  • The same number — 38% — also used a data management platform, with an average of eight data collection tags. We also saw many DMP tags riding in with social media and pub-tech vendors, oftentimes without the knowledge of the publisher.

A full listing of stats and vendors can be found in the infographics after the link.

Research assistance for this project was led by Alex Eisert with help from Gabe Orlanski and Erik Rosenblum.

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