September 25, 2019

Media rebates are the top issue contributing to the breakdown of trust in the advertising ecosystem, according to a new survey from ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and its outside counsel, Reed Smith.

The study showed that 32 percent of respondents cited media rebates as “a big problem.”  Other issues cited as contributing to the breakdown of trust included invalid traffic and digital ad fraud, data confidentiality, and agencies reselling media to clients with an undisclosed markup – all cited as “a big problem” by 30 percent of respondents (see chart, below).

Respondents were asked to rate 18 issues on a scale of 1-10 on how the respective issues contributed to the breakdown of trust in the advertising ecosystem with a No. 1 ranking representing “no problem” and No. 10 representing “a big problem.”

“The 2016 ANA/K2 Intelligence report validated longstanding concerns about non-transparent rebate behavior, but it also illuminated marketers’ lack of discipline to keep their media contracts fresh and updated,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice.  “While significant progress has been made since then, this new survey indicates the persistence of those issues.  shows the problem is still top of mind among advertisers.  Going forward, ANA’s  Trust Consortium will work collaboratively with the industry to achieve even greater progress and more disciplined behavior.”

Additional issues of concern to respondents included:

  •     Rebates for digital ad data
  •     Lack of transparency into the cost components of the programmatic media supply chain
  •     Data integrity issues (i.e., accuracy and relevance)
  •     Walled garden limitations on measurement
  •     Brand safety
  •     Influencer fraud (i.e., fake followers, fake engagement stats).

The survey was conducted in August by the ANA’s Trust Consortium, which was launched in April of this year in partnership with Reed Smith to help address the issue of trust between marketers and the advertising ecosystem. The Trust Consortium consists of subject matter experts committed to working together to prioritize the trust issue and to emphasize transparency, integrity, and growth for the overall well-being of the industry.

The survey was conducted to identify areas for the Consortium to focus on going forward. There were 188 respondents.

“The survey’s results show the important role the Trust Consortium can play in restoring trust and growth through collaborative efforts throughout the supply chain,” said Douglas Wood, a partner with Reed Smith.  “It’s a call to open discussions and focus on what we can change and where we can’t agree, to understand one another’s concerns.  It won’t be simple but if we can begin open and honest discussions between brands, agencies, publishers, auditors and consultants, DSPs, SSPs, trading desks, and publishers, we can start to restore trust and contribute to growth.”

The Trust Consortium’s future plans include the creation of white papers on best practices and key issues, FAQs, templates, and industry standards for marketers, agencies, and suppliers. Its focus will cover both demand-side and supply-side platforms, including media buying agencies.

To download report CLICK HERE.


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