Lack of transparency piles pressure on programmatic

mobileFresh evidence has emerged of a crisis of confidence over programmatic buying among top marketers, with the vast majority (80%) saying they are concerned about levels of transparency and only a handful (14%) believing they have a strong understanding of how much of the ad budget makes it through to consumers.
The State of Programmatic Advertising report – conducted by blockchain-enabled media agency Truth in collaboration with London Research – is based on interviews with senior marketers at well-known brands and a global survey of more than 100 senior executives with responsibility for ad buying.
Those who were quizzed include TSB Bank marketing director Pete Markey, Easylife Group head of digital marketing Deborah Thompson, Expedia global head of programmatic and martech Rory Paterson and ViscoSoft strategic planning and integrated marketing consultant Heidi Diamond.
The report shows that two-fifths (39%) of advertisers surveyed regard a lack of visibility on third parties as one of their biggest industry concerns.
Many advertisers perceive a lack of agency transparency (42%) as a top-three concern, an issue that is regarded as the second biggest headache for advertisers. More than a third of respondents (36%) also cite ‘medium’ or ‘quite low’ levels of trust in their digital media agencies, while more than a quarter (27%) say they have felt compelled to use media agency services that are not in their best interests.
Easylife Group’s Thompson said: “The figures presented by agencies are very seductive and seem wonderful, but because we don’t fully understand the whole string of intermediaries that have had commission at some point in the process, and all the technological aspects, there’s always a bit of scepticism when the time comes to sell awareness-led display to the finance director or the managing director.”
Inconsistent measurement is also undermining the industry, the report claims, with around half (49%) of respondents citing a lack of consistent metrics and measurement as one of their biggest concerns. The industry still has its work cut out to ensure consistency of standards and metrics, and that these are agreed and adhered to, the study insists.
However, it reckons that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite concerns about lack of transparency and issues such as ad fraud and brand safety, advertisers are confident that there are ways of addressing the industry’s challenges.
More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) say they are taking action to improve their confidence in programmatic advertising, and more than three-quarters (77%) agree that a cleaner supply chain will release time and money for better advertising and innovation. A range of measures are being taken by brands — both internally and in co-operation with agency and ad tech partners — to bolster management of programmatic ad buying.
Truth chief executive Mary Keane Dawson said: “These findings make it more and more apparent the current media model is broken. The industry cannot continue in this way where there is a fundamental lack of trust in the process. As an industry we need to acknowledge these concerns and move towards a model where there is total transparency.”

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