Is there such a thing as a transparent media? | M&M Global

Is there such a thing as a transparent media?

Collaboration across all the key protagonists in the programmatic ecosystem is exactly what is needed if we are to achieve true transparency, writes Mike Peralta.

Mike Peralta

It’s always inspiring to take a few days out of the office and connect with peers to share ideas, best practice, and learn about the latest trends from across the industry.

This year’s Festival of Media Global 2016 promises to be packed full of interesting debates with a number of important topics on the agenda. From questioning what clients really want, to asking how we build trust in the digital economy, the media landscape is going to come under scrutiny from some of the sharpest minds in the business. And so it should.

One of the most hotly debated topics right now is transparent media, and I can’t wait to dig deep on this discussion with my co-panellists at the Festival – Sarah Mansfield, VP global media Europe and Americas at Unilever, Nick Manning, CSO at marketing analytics specialist Ebiquity, and Jim Elms, global CEO of communications network, Initiative – as we tackle the contentious issue: Is there Such a Thing as a Transparent Media? (19 May, 15:00, Caesar Stage).

AudienceScience has been championing greater transparency in the industry for years, and the cry from advertisers for greater control and less opacity is becoming deafening.

Only last month ISBA launched an initiative to introduce greater transparency between media agencies and advertisers though the introduction of a ‘framework agreement’ that could be used to create ‘clear and strong contracts’ for buying and planning services. ISBA, representing 450 major advertisers, believes that many contracts fall short when it comes to ad fraud, viewability, verification and brand safety.

Procedural opaqueness

As with most things in our industry, the word transparency does a lot of heavy lifting in the sense that it takes on different meanings.

There are the more obvious issues I listed above but there is also the procedural opaqueness in the ecosystem that can lead to significant levels of wastage. In fact, my fellow panellist, Nick Manning of Ebiquity, suggests that only $0.40 out of every $1.00 advertisers spend actually reaches the publisher – and that’s before you get onto the subject of non-human traffic, viewability and out-of-target or out-of frequency impressions. This is something he talked with us about in-depth last year for our blog.

“One marketer’s transparency is not necessarily the same as another’s”

Lack of transparency is an important hurdle for all players in the ecosystem to overcome as they have to evolve to give brands the accountability they are demanding. But one marketer’s transparency is not necessarily the same as another’s.

That was evidenced by the clash between the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising (the 4As) – which had formed a working group in Spring 2015 to create a set of transparency guidelines. However, differences of opinion between the two groups around terminology were such that, at the end of the year, they reached stalemate. In January ,the 4As issued its own set of transparency guidelines without the ANA.

Key protagonists

It’s a shame that this joint initiative didn’t work out. Collaboration across all the key protagonists in the programmatic ecosystem is exactly what is needed if we are to achieve true transparency.

The only way we can start to unpick today’s opaque and fragmented digital advertising model is for the brand, agency and technology partner to work much more closely together.  It’s in everyone’s interest to create an environment in which advertisers can be as effective as possible – the greater their ROI, the more money they are likely to invest in advertising.

I’m sure my fellow panellists will have their own diverse points of view on what transparency is, why we need it and how we can achieve it, which is why I’m so excited to be taking part in this important discussion. I hope we’ll see you there too.

Mike Peralta

Chief executive, AudienceScience

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