Advertising: The Case for Transparency


By 2019, mobile adver­tis­ing spends ($82B) will be big­ger than lin­ear TV ($76B) in the U.S, wit­ness­ing a major trend for the whole indus­try.

In this mobile first par­a­digm, con­sumers are shift­ing their atten­tion from offline to online so brands are mov­ing the same way and increase sig­nif­i­cant­ly their dig­i­tal ad spends year after year.

Pro­gram­mat­ic buy­ing has estab­lished itself as the log­i­cal evo­lu­tion of our indus­try, grow­ing faster than any oth­er dig­i­tal chan­nels (31% in 2017).

Tech­nol­o­gy is now a crit­i­cal part of the process. It has enabled lots of new pos­si­bil­i­ties and trans­formed dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing like noth­ing before, giv­ing brands and agen­cies the abil­i­ty to man­age an increas­ing­ly frag­ment­ed land­scape where ubiq­ui­ty and flu­id expe­ri­ences are the min­i­mum expec­ta­tions of any con­sumer.

Our indus­try is sick and symp­toms are self-explana­to­ry 

This is the bright side, the big oppor­tu­ni­ty for any brand. On the oth­er side, this fast and crit­i­cal change has cre­at­ed a new real­i­ty made of com­plex­i­ty, tons of play­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing to a val­ue chain which has become opaque to the point where adver­tis­ers can­not accept any­more. These con­cerns have been remark­ably expressed by P&G Marc S. Pritchard in a call for trans­paren­cy and trust in the adver­tis­ing indus­try.

Let’s face the real­i­ty, our indus­try is sick and its main symp­toms are self-explana­to­ry. Brands have rais­ing con­cerns around ad fraud, brand safe­ty, inde­pen­dent mea­sure­ment, ‘walled gar­dens’, cam­paign viewa­bil­i­ty, wrong or fan­cy met­rics pro­vid­ed by some of the biggest play­ers, arbi­trage, real cost of media and over­all effec­tive­ness.

They have con­cerns for their brands and con­cerns on the way their bud­gets are invest­ed. We have reached a tip­ping point where Trust has part­ly gone and where it is crit­i­cal to start act­ing in order to restore it.

Trans­paren­cy is the only real­is­tic path to restore Trust. 

Mak­ing peo­ple change is prob­a­bly the biggest chal­lenge, no mat­ter the indus­try. The cur­rent mod­el of agency ‘doing’ and brands ‘con­trol­ling’ is total­ly obso­lete. Any par­ty should be hands-on; any CMO should have con­cerns if their teams are not com­fort­able with using tech­nol­o­gy. Any agency should be an agent of change, chal­leng­ing estab­lished mod­els and cham­pi­oning trans­paren­cy.

Restore Trust starts by work­ing all togeth­er, shar­ing the same agen­da, hav­ing joint goals and set­ting trans­paren­cy as the cor­ner stone of rela­tions between Brands, Tech­nolo­gies and Agen­cies.

Alex Azzopardi

Posted on 05-18-2017


  • By Teodora Takacs - 8:53 AM on May 22, 2017   Reply

    This is so true. And also, large com­pa­nies should put a stop to silo think­ing, espe­cial­ly when it comes to mar­ket­ing and IT. When these two depart­ments are dri­ven by dif­fer­ent goals, the only one who will suf­fer in the end, is the cus­tomer.

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