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5 important lessons about media transparency in 2021 | Alliance for Audited Media | Open Mic

5 important lessons about media transparency in 2021 | Alliance for Audited Media | Open Mic
Written by publishing team

Marketers took on several responsibilities in 2021 including protecting their brands from advertising fraud, ensuring brand integrity and checking supply chain transparency. News of inflated audience numbers and lost budgets due to fake traffic has highlighted how important it is for marketers to know where to spend their advertising budgets and the level of transparency that their media partners provide.

After speaking with several media and marketing leaders, we wanted to share some lessons learned this year about transparency and the solutions marketers should consider when planning for media in 2022.

1). Industry solutions provide greater transparency

Industry organizations such as IAB Tech Lab, Media Rating Council, Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), and Alliance for Audited Media have created solutions to increase supply chain transparency, reduce advertising fraud, and improve brand integrity. By working with partners and publishers who have implemented solutions from these groups, marketers have greater insights into their media purchases, which leads to better results.

Eileen Baker, director of customer services at Trusted Media Brands, said her company relies on industry solutions to provide advertisers with transparency and quality proof. “We invest heavily in the brand integrity of our sites, and it is important that our advertising partners understand this commitment,” Baker said. “In addition to AAM publisher audits, we participate in digital verification offerings such as TAG and IAB Tech Lab.”

Having a single solution in place is a great start, but a multi-layered approach offers the greatest protection against many issues.

Jane Finnegan, Managing Director and President of Kroll Notice Media, is looking for several solutions in her audit process to help her find media partners that provide legitimate audiences and better results.

“We depend on the ability to choose the right media to reach the right audiences and turn that media into an actionable outcome,” Finegan said. “Secondly we started making sure that humans were on the other side of the screen, we saw better results. We saw more people hitting our websites and we saw bigger results in terms of total responses and conversions.”

2). Select the right KPIs to increase your ROI

Bots may generate clicks, but they don’t provide any real interaction. Focusing on KPIs like conversions helps marketers improve their campaigns to achieve better results.

“There has been a well-established story in the digital ecosystem that more is better,” Finnegan said. “We value high-quality environments, accountability, and human engagement on clicks. When you look at campaign data in the context of quality and the resulting conversions, you’ll quickly notice that if you’re buying good publishers, you’ll get better results.”

3). Third Party Publisher Audits Are Necessary

Media audits have been in print for decades but are becoming a new concept in digital media. Audits of third-party digital publishers analyze whether a publisher has a process in place to deliver human traffic to the website and reduce ad fraud, which is necessary to promote greater transparency.

“Verifying what you pay is the only way to base transactions on trust,” said Chris Black, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Zenith. “Our risk tolerance level is very low because it is low for our customers. Third party verification provides us with the level of confidence and assurance we want in every transaction.”

By partnering with vetted digital publishers, marketers can be confident that their ads are reaching people, increasing campaign effectiveness and return on investment.

4). Transparency helps marketers improve their budgets

By investing in partners that provide greater transparency, marketers can allocate more media investment to websites that offer a human audience and a better ROI. Marketers also receive more accurate data to make informed decisions and ultimately improve future campaigns.

5). Marketer support for industry solutions is essential

While the industry has developed solutions to improve transparency, it requires marketer support to encourage the spread of these initiatives. Marketers need to require their partners to implement industry solutions and invest in those solutions. Active advocacy for transparency uplifts the entire industry and maintains a healthy ecosystem that delivers greater marketing ROI and rewards high-quality media providers.

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