In January, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard pledged to cut down on digital advertising spend, citing the alarming amount of “waste” in the media supply chain. However, it’s not clear that the purse strings have been tightened yet. P&G ad impressions following Pritchard’s announcement remained in line with historical trends, suggesting that the company’s ad spend didn’t change dramatically.

The biggest change is that the bulk of P&G impressions now appear on far fewer websites. Specifically, L2 researchers found that the number of websites serving P&G ads declined by about 65% year-over-year. However, the relative shares of indirect and direct impressions did not change significantly, indicating that the advertiser may not have made major adjustments to its ad buying strategy.

P&G impressions

Reducing the number of websites that the firm advertises on has yielded some positive improvements in terms of publisher characteristics. L2’s calculations show modest gains in impression-weighted average ad quality and site safety reputation, along with slight decreases in ad clutter. However, for all this effort, it appears that site quality ratings have stayed in the top 10th percentile, indicating that the return on investment may have been limited. Brands choosing to follow the industry leader should consider whether significant changes in ad-buying practices will produce outcomes worth the effort.

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