Since the media transparency initiative conducted by the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in 2016, the advertising industry has been awash with public commentary on the lack of transparency in today’s media market, and especially in digital. 

There has been even more movement on media transparency outside of the public gaze, so it is unusual for a senior agency practitioner to open up on the subject of media transparency as Martin Cass, CEO of MDC Media Partners, did at Advertising Week in New York last week.

Martin’s panel contribution confirmed some of the key findings of the 2016 K2 Intelligence investigation into the workings of the US media market and specifically the existence of price arbitrage in digital, whereby media agencies are reportedly charging significant mark-ups on online media inventory, undisclosed to the advertisers.

Advertisers need to investigate the inner workings of the online advertising market and understand how their money and data is being deployed. A good starting-point is the report that Ebiquity and Ad/Fin published in May, which reported in detail on the programmatic value chain and how advertisers’ budgets are eroded by technology charges and multiple fees, often masked. 

Advertisers should implement specific processes to track at a granular level the money and data flows, and all costs associated in order to maximise their ‘working’ dollars and improve return-on-investment.

Our report provides a detailed ‘playbook’ to achieve this, and our recent publication ‘Demystifying Digital’ also sets out clear guidelines for the management of digital media.

The media transparency movement is in full swing. Last week’s revelations are further evidence of its unstoppable momentum.


Please click on the respective images to download the study, Programmatic: seeing through the Financial Fog & Demystifying Digital: A guide to better digital marketing