August is for many people a quiet month, with sun-induced lethargy and out-of-office auto-replies, but this particular August week has been significant in the movement towards higher standards of media stewardship within our industry.
Firstly, the US Association of National Advertisers has endorsed TrustX, the premium private market-place formed by 30 publishers to create a reputable, safe and effective online advertising environment. TrustX is an example of how industry parties who compete can co-operate to address the much-publicised shortcomings of programmatic advertising, such as poor viewability, ad fraud and lack of brand safety.
The ANA is careful with its endorsements in order to protect its independence, so its active support for TrustX is significant.
Secondly, and just as significantly, new research published by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) proves that real progress is being made by their members (the world’s biggest advertisers) in addressing the many facets of media transparency that were the subject of the ANA’s media transparency initiative, and which have been much aired since.
Media transparency is often mistakenly taken to refer to purely financial matters, but as Ebiquity’s recommendations for the ANA specified last year, media transparency covers the full range of media management tasks that advertisers should undertake to improve effectiveness, including addressing the problems of viewability, brand safety and ad fraud that bedevil the online display market.
The new WFA research shows that 65% of respondents to their survey have taken steps to improve their internal capabilities, including the recruitment of people with specific responsibility for media management as called for in the Ebiquity recommendations for the ANA.
More than 70% said they have adjusted their media agency contracts in the light of question marks over how media agencies transact media on their own behalf and other matters highlighted by the ANA.
And nearly 40% plan to add extra clauses to their agency contracts to cover media measurement and contract compliance verification, reflecting the fact that almost half of the respondents are tightening up contract wording on how media trading incentives are identified and apportioned.
Following the high-profile questions over the shortcomings of programmatic, especially brand safety, the majority of the WFA’s respondents are implementing new processes to measure viewability and ad fraud and tightening up on ways to protect their brands.
It is encouraging to see the widespread recognition that media transparency is not just a financial matter, but is fundamental to advertising effectiveness and higher standards of media management throughout the industry.
Not bad for a lazy August week.