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Trust between advertisers & agencies has declined in last 2 years

Trust levels between the advertisers and their media agency partners have fallen even lower in the last two years, according to new research from management consultancy ID Comms.

The ID Comms 2018 Global Media Transparency Survey has found that just 10 per cent of advertisers rate levels of trust with their agency partners as high or very high. By contrast, the number who believe that trust is low has shifted from 29 per cent to 40 per cent, while the number who believe it is average has fallen by 12 per cent.

The findings are disappointing given that the previous Media Transparency Survey was conducted at a time when the ANA was investigating media rebates in the US and advertisers’ concerns that agencies were benefiting from undeclared income streams were at their height.

Since then, advertisers have worked hard to improve their media knowledge and take greater control over how their ad budgets are invested. Many have adjusted contracts with existing suppliers or held pitches that demand greater transparency as a condition of participation.

The good news is that as a result of these efforts, many are much more positive about the future levels of trust with a 20 per cent increase in the number of agencies and advertisers who expect it to increase “a little” or “a lot” over the coming 12 months.

The results are based on 232 responses from advertisers across a diverse range of sectors and geographies investing more than $25bn on media around the world. Respondents worked in a mix of roles across marketing, media and procurement. Agency respondents represented all the major agency holding groups and many independent media agencies.

“The vast majority of both agencies and advertisers agree that a close, trusted relationship is likely to lead to better marketing performance but, sadly, right now levels of trust are much lower than they should be. This is reducing the ability of media partners to use their skills and knowledge to help advertisers grow their businesses,” said Susy Pyzer-Knapp, Consultant at ID Comms.

The 2018 survey found that transparency is still a critical component in building trust and an increased number of agency respondents now agree with this. The number of agency respondents who agreed that issues around transparency have a very high influence on trust has tripled in the last two years, reaching 35 per cent of agency respondents.

Among both advertisers and agency respondents, the four-highest ranked areas of transparency that drive trust have not changed since 2016; how the agency manages rebates/ AVBs, how the agency makes money, how the agency trades with media vendors and how the agency uses group buying/ share deals.