Ad fraud & brand safety remain the biggest programmatic issues say DTA USA judges

Transparency has been one of the biggest buzz words in the programmatic industry for a few years now and it’s not going away anytime soon. Over 10 years in and programmatic is continuing to change the face of marketing and as always, there are bumps in the road.

The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA 2018 has introduced a new category, the ‘Improvement in Media Effectiveness Award’. This category will seek submissions from teams tasked with achieving improvement in the performance of their clients’ media spend specifically in the areas of transparency. 

The Drum spoke to four industry experts from Business Insider. Trust Metrics, SalientMG and Beller Tech, who are also judges for The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA 2018, on what areas of transparency are either lost or problematic in the industry right now.

Jana Meron, senior vice president, programmatic and data strategy, Business Insider

The biggest problem with regards to transparency is the lack of standardization across platforms. While DSP and SSP technologies continue to optimize programmatic media buying, they’ve also made true costs harder to pinpoint.

Right now, if you were to compare SSP and DSP reports, you’d find varying results, not just from a revenue perspective, but also from a brand perspective. SSPs and DSPs categorize companies and their brands differently, making it difficult to align advertisers’ brands. Inconsistencies also make it challenging to match up dollars from one platform to another.

The media buying process has become more and more complex as platform intermediaries are introduced, blurring the spend flow from start to finish and making ROI more difficult to calculate.

Marc Goldberg, chief executive officer, Trust Metrics

Most advertisers consider a quality site in “brand safety” as just the absence of hate, porn, and other evils. Quality is the presence of good publishing features. Brands need to revisit the 101 of advertising and align with quality (which can be subjective), then optimize any KPIs that don’t improve on their own. This happens a lot with viewability, where brands run toward high clutter and slide show sites designed to achieve viewability, while walking away from publications that put users first. Brands assume their numbers provide transparency, but a spreadsheet can’t disclose the poor environment these viewable ads are served in. Viewability is a measurement, not a target. Quality is the target; measure viewability second.

Mack McKelvey, founder, SalientMG

Ad fraud and brand safety are extremely important issues affecting every advertising and marketing professional today. However, transparency in mobile location data should be getting more attention. All sorts of brands rely on consumer foot traffic information to measure mobile ad performance, understand ebbs and flows in customer behavior and learn more about demographics of people visiting business locations. But not many marketing professionals realize, for instance, that their decisions to run mobile ads in-app or on the mobile web can have a huge impact on how precisely the ads are measured.  There’s a lot of complexity that should be made more transparent to marketers.

Rob Beeler, founder, Beeler Tech

Some of the solutions that bring transparency also add to the lack of it. During a research project for the 614 Group we found that agencies and publishers assumed that if they used the same vendor, both parties would see the same numbers. That’s often not true. Solutions that serve both buyers and sellers often report different numbers to each side because of how and why they count events like viewable impressions. This causes confusion, discrepancies and a lack of transparency from solutions whose purpose is to bring transparency to the market.

Meron, Goldberg, McKelvey and Beeler are all judges for The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA. The entry deadline is Thursday 30 August, download your entry pack now and show the industry the outstanding work you have been producing.

Headline sponsor of these awards are MiQ

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