The answer is simple: transparency and trust – the two words which are heard more frequently now than ever before. There has been a shift of marketing spend in recent years to digital channels which, through technology, has given the marketer multiple measurement metrics which were not available in other forms of media. However, transparency and trust have not walked in step with the advancement in technology.
Consider the example of Facebook, which reported discrepancies with its ad measurement. I believe advertisers regarded the social media giant as simply too big to be incorrect, while Facebook continued to cultivate those old-school “trust me” relationships with advertisers.
Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble is known for infamously calling out Google and Facebook’s “walled gardens” and demanding transparency from the digital supply chain. Pritchard concluded. "It's time we come together to solve these problems," he said. "Let's realise the enormous potential of this amazing industry."
Keith Weed at Unilever joined the competitor, P&G, in the call for greater trust and transparency in adland. Improved viewability and metrics that mean something and are industry-wide are what is needed. In the UK in the meantime The Times exposed brand safety issues, where advertisers were inadvertently supporting terrorist groups by unknowingly advertising on their websites or videos.
With so much technology at hand, how could marketers not possibly understand or question their digital supply chain?
The fact is the data was inaccurate and technology giants are still not adhering to industry best practices by allowing independent technology auditors to verify their systems. The industry placed trust and transparency without any reason for it to exist.
It was the lack of oversight that allowed the situation to get to this point for advertisers. Metrics were being provided and they looked great, never questioned. But ads are not much use if they are viewed by non-human traffic, not relevantly placed when a human is on a website, or not viewable at all.
Now is the time for buyers to flex their muscles and stop investing precious advertising dollars until media platform owners – no matter how big or small – submit their processes and data to independent audits.
Marketing is complex and fragmented. Technology and working practices have led to a lack of accountability and transparency. What I have learned from my time in this industry is that advertising performance needs to be measured and optimised so that ad budgets are put to the most effective use. More importantly than this, measurement needs to be verified externally, not by those selling solutions or those buying. If we can get back to this point, trust and transparency can return.
Marketers need to ask questions and be more proactive.
• Demand agents provide transparency.
• Demand accountability for advertising spend that your ads were viewable by a real qualified audience. Demand accurate metrics.
• Demand one universal measurement system to one set of standards.
• Do not be afraid of the automation that is sweeping through the media landscape.
• Learn more about how agents’ systems work.
• Make sure these automated solutions work – and work properly.
• Make sure those systems are independently third party verified to industry standards.
• Take responsibility for ad spend decisions; do not abdicate to agents. If you do not do so, you do so at your own peril.
BPA Worldwide is an independent, industry-owned, auditor of media and ad technology platforms. We call on the marketing community to help us to help them in bringing back trust and transparency to the media industry.
More like this
In her previous blog post, SPH Magazines' Hafizah Hazahal shared how the Google/Youtube ‘brand safety’ chaos has led to the industry’s reawakening to the importance of branding, vis-à-vis the pursuit of conversions in this digital age. When it comes to branding, a study by Magnetic Media has proven that magazine media excels in building “meaningfully different” brands which drives repeat purchase and grow market share.11th Aug 2017 Opinion
Challenging times have led businesses to be obsessed with chasing conversions… which can be at the expense of the brand. Just look at what happened in the recent chaos which saw many brand owners freezing their adspend on Google and Youtube, following the realisation that their ads are appearing alongside offensive content on these platforms.4th Aug 2017 Opinion
Larry Sommers, vice president of Meredith Content Licensing, and Mike Lovell, who manages the international brand licensing business, explain how they revolutionised Meredith’s proposition – and how they’re equipping it for the future…14th Aug 2017 Features
Hearst’s Seventeen magazine is building on a program it launched a year ago, after finding success with The Seventeen Fashion Experience. The program is a fashion summer camp for junior and high school students, that not only functions as a revenue stream, but allows the magazine media brand to stay in touch with and learn from its teenage audience.21st Aug 2017 Features
As a strong believer in the haptic experience of analogue media Christian Kallenberg has been championing the value of print within a multi platform strategy.14th Aug 2017 Features
The New York Times launched a new magazine focusing on travel for the Chinese market Aug. 10, called “The New York Times Travel Magazine 新视线”. The magazine, which will come out six times a year, is published by Huasheng Media.17th Aug 2017 Features
Diversified revenue mixes within Haymarket Business Media, including events and data driven advertising has boosted business over the last couple of years, especially within the B2B environment, says Tim Lomas, commercial manager of Haymarket’s Energy and Environment Division.21st Aug 2017 Features
Visit our Youtube channelFIND OUT MORE
FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the worldFIND OUT MORE
Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovationsFIND OUT MORE
What’s happening now, what’s coming next