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The programmatic future lies in trust & transparency

The next phase of ad tech will revolve around two major themes – control and transparency. These elements will allow agencies and advertisers to be more effective with their campaigns, and bring back trust in digital advertising.

More importantly, 2018 is the year transparency becomes a real business differentiator. It will mark the end of the black box era in programmatic, where fees and costs have been opaque, and hard to determine, even when performance has been off the charts.

Agencies and advertisers want more control over the media, data and tech fees that they’ve being paying various players in the digital supply chain.

The move to transparency presents a huge opportunity for the digital industry to prove its value and rid itself of some of the negative headlines from 2017, namely around brand safety, fraud and the ‘ad tech tax’. The agencies and technology providers that are open and transparent with their clients about where their marketing investments are going will thrive. There’s no longer a need to trade great performance for transparency. You can have both with the right partner.

Even though transparency has been a hot topic over the past eighteen months. 2018 will see the matter come to a head, led by some of the most powerful brand marketers in the world.

If we ask the CMO of Unilever, Keith Weed, he’s making it clear that the opaque nature of the digital ecosystem is still an issue – though the industry has started working on it.

And he’s right to be unhappy. In a world with zero based budgets, issues such as fraud, viewability and non-transparent fees by their agencies and their agencies’ tech partners are reducing the budget actually spent on working media.

Here’s a real world example. Let’s say a client spends $100 on their favourite managed services provider. How much of that actually makes it to the publisher? In this case, we estimate the percentage is around 17 per cent . Where did the rest go?

Of that $100, $1 went to Ad Serving, $2 went to Brand Safety, Viewability and Verification, $20 went to the SSP, $30 went to 3rd party data, $20 went to the traders managing the campaign, and $10 went to the DSP for platform fees. The remaining $17 goes to the publisher.

This is why marketers and agencies care about transparency and having control – they want to know what portion of spend is going to working media. For this to happen, they need transparency into how their media performs, where it works, and what it really costs. Advertisers are demanding control over their media, data, creative and overall advertising investment.

To address these challenges, Sizmek has set a new standard for the industry and announced a ‘Total Transparency’ approach to digital advertising for 2018 and beyond. We look forward to seeing others in the ecosystem follow suit as we all work together to build trust greater in digital.

Kees de Jong

Kees de Jong is the General Manager - APAC at Sizmek.
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