At Metamarkets, we believe that radical transparency is needed in programmatic marketing – and to shed light on this issue we recently commissioned research (see: The Transparency Opportunity) to better understand the perceptions of brands, agencies and publishers that influence the purchase of digital media.

This is the second of a three-part series taking a deeper look at the results of that research and our takeaways for the programmatic marketing industry. If you missed it, be sure to check out our first post on Quantifying Trust. Today, we’ll look at the results that help us better define transparency to understand what it is that marketers are demanding most.

Demanding Transparency for Performance Reporting

The push for transparency in digital marketing today is multifaceted, so it is important to define what we mean and what we value the most.

As part of our research, we asked marketers to rate the relevance of various factors in programmatic media buying to their definition of programmatic media buying. In essence, we wanted to determine the direction in which their calls for transparency were strongest. The results have important implications for where we should focus on our transparency efforts:   

An overwhelming majority of respondents — 92 percent overall, slightly higher for brands and agencies — named “performance reporting” as their biggest factor when talking about transparency, reflecting their struggle to get a complete understanding of campaign performance. This absolutely echoes what we have been hearing from our clients this year – we’ve heard from brands looking to build up their focus on analytics to add more transparency to their internal reporting process, and from exchanges and DSPs who work with brands seeking ways to quickly share performance data back with their partners.

Meanwhile, another great promise of programmatic buying is audience targeting – cost-efficiently finding the right people at the right time with the right messages. But our results show this dream hasn’t been fully realized: 90 percent of brands, agencies and publishers told us audience targeting was very relevant to their calls for transparency. In today’s market, they simply can’t confirm that the audience segments and profiles they are promised match what is ultimately delivered.

Calls for Standards

To tackle the question of how we define transparency even further, we asked our survey respondents to determine the most important criteria for their business in programmatic buying:

In this question, the largest response was for “standards viewability metrics” – 88% listed that as an important or very important factor – with “reducing ad fraud” and “reliable attribution” close behind.

We also asked which future changes would cause them to switch budgets from one vendor to another. The biggest factor? 73 percent of respondents agreed that a unified set of standards across screens would drive them to move their marketing dollars toward a more transparent vendor.

The data no doubt reflects the problems that agencies and other intermediaries face today – the inability to gather data across platforms, normalize and understand audiences and their behaviors within “walled gardens” such as Facebook and Snapchat, and generally understand which channels are providing them with the best return on their advertising dollars. This lack of standards around data is a central reason for the urgency around transparency.  

Investing in Intermediaries

To tackle these problems and acquire the levels of transparency they seek, digital marketing leaders should embrace agnostic third-party measurement tools that operate separately from those who monetize the content. This will inspire openness, make it easier to establish and enforce standards and more provide clarity around programmatic buying data for all partners. With the right investments in interactive analytics, marketers can take control of their programmatic data and establish the data transparency that their partners at brands, agencies and publishers demand.

As an independent analytics provider, Metamarkets gives its users a real-time, transparent view of what’s happening in the media marketplaces where they operate and allows them to instantly drill down to get deeper layers of insights on programmatic data. Be sure to download the full Transparency Opportunity report for more details on the findings, and connect with us here to talk about how to make the most of your programmatic data.