Transparency Opportunity Blog Series: Overcoming the Inhibiting Factors

Transparency in digital marketing continues to be a dominant theme of 2017 – major brands like P&G and Unilever are backing up their calls to clean up the digital ad ecosystem by reducing their spending and decreasing the number of sites they spend on. It is becoming increasingly urgent for marketers to offer radical transparency in programmatic marketing if they wish to keep up with the brands’ growing demands.

This is the third post in our three-part series taking a deeper look at the results of our recent research (see: The Transparency Opportunity) that looks at the perceptions of brands, agencies and publishers that influence the purchase of digital media. Be sure to check out our earlier posts on Quantifying Trust and Defining Transparency. Today, we’ll look at the results from our study that reveal the biggest factors preventing marketers from spending more of their budget on programmatic media buys.

A Long List of Concerns

Brands and agencies already pour billions of dollars into programmatic advertising — 16 percent of their budgets overall, according to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) — and yet, our survey results suggested advertiser spending could be much higher if not for a bevy of serious concerns.

Chief among the factors they highlight is transparency – 47 percent of all brands cited a lack of transparency as the biggest inhibitor to future growth of programmatic buying. Poor inventory quality, ineffective data leverage and lack of data control also played a significant role in preventing additional spending.

We also asked respondents how strongly they felt that certain factors were inhibitors to the growth of programmatic buying: 

Most respondents (77 percent) agreed that ad fraud has become a major issue. Even if it means bringing in agnostic third parties to institute some type of industry regulation, it is clear a reduction in ad fraud would be worth it for today’s marketers. They also cited unreliable attribution measurement and a lack of standards as prominent concerns.   

A consistent thread in these inhibiting factors is the lack of control that brands have to access and make decisions based on their data. The marketing industry has created an ecosystem where brands simply don’t get transparent access to their data, in part because intermediaries have little incentive to provide more than a minimum amount of data access.

The good news is, thanks to increased pressure from brand leaders, better data transparency is becoming a prerequisite for working with some of the teams managing the industry’s largest budgets. More than half the survey participants said they are willing or eager to go to the trouble of switching vendors who provide them more transparency around their core concerns.

Bumping Up the Budgets

There are some who would suggest that even without better insights on their data, advertisers would continue to spend limitlessly without hesitation on giant “Walled Gardens” like Facebook and Google, even if they continued to set their own non-transparent measurement standards and rules.

However, our survey suggest that the calls for transparency could have game-changing impacts on advertising budgets – marketers say they would devote significantly more money to programmatic if their concerns were addressed. A large majority, three-quarters of all participants in the survey, said that with new transparency in the market they would increase their spend in programmatic advertising from at least 11 percent and in some cases by 50 percent or more. 

The opportunity is clear – cleaning up the ecosystem to address these concerns will incentivize a boost on future spending on programmatic media. Now is the time for brands, agencies and other intermediaries to invest in the tools that help them share data easily with their partners and meet their demands.

At Metamarkets, we’ve seen that granting access to the data and insights marketers need to make investment decisions increases trust and yields positive results with our customers. When the leading media exchanges we work with expose their buyers to key pieces of programmatic data, they’ve been able to increase fill rates, lift eCPMs, build trust between partners and drive revenue for their internal teams and buyers.

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.