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Global marketers making radical changes to media management: WFA

Following the brand safety, viewability and transparency issues raised by the  ANA’s reports from K2 and Ebiquity, many global brands have made major changes or are planning to make extensive changes to their media governance practices across a wide range of areas, WFA’s latest report found.

In the last 12 months, 35 multinational companies with a total annual marketing spend of more than USD 30bn globally report wide-ranging actions as they seek to respond to concerns that too many companies have lost control of their media activity.

The study suggests the world’s biggest brand owners are responding to the recent Media Transparency report by WFA member, the USA’s Association of National Advertisers, by taking initiatives designed to take greater control of their media spend and relationships with agency suppliers.

More active management of media issues now involves brand safety, viewability and ad fraud as well as the transparency issues raised by the ANA’s reports from K2 and Ebiquity.

Transparency remained the No 1 priority for 47 per cent of those questioned and although 51 per cent say this is rising up the priority list, 14 per cent feel this it is de-escalating, suggesting that some are seeing progress. Brand safety, the No 2 priority is moving up the agenda fast, with 70 per cent saying it has escalated as an issue in the last 12 months.

On transparency, 65 per cent have improved their internal capabilities via moves such as hiring a head of programmatic. More than 70 per cent have amended their media agency contracts and 58 per cent have included terms that define agency status as agent or principle at law.

On ad fraud, many are also taking actions as recommended in WFA’s Ad Fraud compendium: 55 per cent now limiting run of exchange buys; 43 per cent are shifting away from using CPM as their key metric in favour of business outcomes; and 40 per cent are developing in-house resource to help tackle ad fraud.

On viewability, 63 per cent are now only investing in viewable impressions which meet industry standards and 37 per cent have devised their own viewability criteria.

On brand safety, 74 per cent have suspended investment in ad networks where they felt there was an unnecessary risk to their brands and a further 14 per cent plan to do so. Eighty-nine per cent currently limit or plan to limit investment in ad networks that do not allow use of third-party verification.

“The WFA has long championed the need for clear and transparent relationships between brands and their agency partners. Last year’s ANA report was a catalyst for a new wave of action by brands not just in the US but around the world, addressing many of the media issues that our members have highlighted including brand safety and ad fraud. These actions, coupled with an increasing number of WFA members sharing that they have witnessed improved transparency, are positive signs that we can create an improved media landscape for brands, agency partners and media owners,” said Robert Dreblow, Head of Marketing Services at the WFA.