Digital Marketing - Media Buying - May 28, 2020


Every transaction needs an itemized, virtual receipt provided to all participants

When the curtain comes up on the summer of 2020, the stage is set in a tempest. Marketers have retooled creative strategies. Media companies have had to manage record-high levels of user engagement while navigating a business environment marked by one of the most challenging dichotomies ever: a sky-high supply of advertising impressions (due to increased audience activity) and a record-low density of demand (driven by bookings that are down and ad categories that are paused). 
While we’ve made adjustments to the art of our industry, changes still need to be made to the science. 
This month, a study by PwC and ISBA—which found that just 51 percent of advertiser spend on digital inventory is going to the working media—reaffirmed that we still have a transparency problem in the marketplace. There are more than seven million search results for programmatic transparency dating back nearly a decade, and the topic has been debated in industry trades and at conferences for years. While there are varying definitions of what transparency means for our industry, I believe that every transaction needs an easy-to-understand, itemized “virtual” receipt provided to every participant. This means fully disclosing any and all fees and being able to clearly trace working media dollars from marketers’ wallets to publishers’ pockets.  
Yet years later, we are grappling with the same dilemmas and finding, for many, that transparency measures have barely improved. When it comes to transparency, we need to lift the veil on our industry’s murky inner workings.
The pandemic presents us with an opportunity. Many brands are still dark and plans are being retooled. As we ramp back up, we can create a new “normal” set at a higher bar.  
For colleagues across the programmatic landscape, the opportunity lies in crafting a more accountable, more secure environment for our partners—creating products that will not just boost bottom lines, but allow them to unpack and inspect the programmatic ecosystem with greater efficacy. If you are burying truth in aggregate reports, saying you’re working closely with one side of the marketplace but not disclosing how, and avoiding the real-time demonstration of transparency in all of your actions, you are out of time. It’s been simply too long to expect brands to continue to wait for improvements. If this isn’t your No. 1 priority, it should be.
We need to make transactions…

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