From a lack of transparency and hidden costs to data silos and confusing supply chains, the adtech ecosystem has become a minefield for marketers. Phil Acton, Country Manager, UK & Benelux, Adform looks at a better way forward to foster trust, transparency, and clarity in campaigns.
For 25 years, the goal of digital advertising has remained the same – target audiences with a clear message that takes them on a journey from interest to conversion.
In recent times however, seven sins have appeared in the adtech ecosystem – notably focusing on the issue of transparency, exacerbated by the recent Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study from ISBA and PwC. Hidden costs, a confusing supply chain, and data disunity contribute to brands’ views that the ecosystem is difficult to trust.
But there is a better way forward; brands and vendors can collaborate to redeem themselves from the effects of the seven sins of adtech and choose to make decisions that foster trust, transparency, and clarity in campaigns. So what are the seven sins?
One: Losing sight of your audience data
Data; the cornerstone to digital advertising and arguably the most lucrative commodity in the modern world. Advertisers should fully harness their data to activate and enrich their campaigns – but some are falling short. The impending loss of the third-party cookie from major browsers has raised concerns about advertisers’ ability to target users consistently.
Integrated advertising platforms (IAPs) can help advertisers draw value from their data, aggregating audience insights and significantly reducing data loss. First party cookie matching and cross-device solutions will also help advertisers overcome the sin of data loss and target users effectively.
Two: Ad fraud and wasted media investments
Polluting performance results and siphoning off ad budgets, ad fraud cost the digital advertising industry an estimated $23 billion in 2019.
Advertisers must employ technology that continues to fight bad actors. Respectable vendors prioritise quality inventory in the ad buying process and commit time to anti-fraud solutions. IAPs and collaboration across the industry will push further anti-fraud and brand safety tools, helping us to overcome the second sin of ad tech.
Three: Too many layers of tech
Transparency has eluded some players, leading to inefficiency and lost ad budgets, a problem created by the many layers of technology advertisers add to their stacks. The ISBA and PwC report estimates that roughly 15% of all supply chain costs disappear into an “Unknown Delta”, while on average only half (51%) of investment actually reaches publishers.
However, IAPs offer brands and agencies the benefits of consolidated communication, reducing transfer switching costs, hidden fees, and secondary tech taxes. Furthermore, a truer understanding of supply chains will be vital to analysing the success of cross-device campaigns.
Four: Confusion around viewability
When working with separate advertiser and publisher platforms, a notorious problem for ad tech is discrepancy in how vendors measure viewability. This is generally caused by latency or a difference in algorithms, but marketers should be able to rely on IAPs that provide coherent, accurate reporting for performance and receive value for money.
Five: Forgetting time is money
The fifth sin of adtech holds true across all business: forgetting time is money. The differences in sync time between ad tech vendors – which can sit somewhere between 15 minutes to hours or even days – impacts advertisers’ ability to reactively capture customers in a timely fashion.
The industry needs to progress away from an eight-hour sync, as current innovations allow advertisers to activate campaigns in real time. IAPs offer 30-minute syncs, enabling brands to engage customers at the right point of the purchase cycle.
Six: Silo building
The sixth sin faced by the industry is vendors building silos rather than teams; 41% of professionals see this as a ‘significant barrier’ to the customer experience. Silos prevent the alignment of campaigns, making it hard to collaborate assets and evaluate success.
Brands should seek partners that provide comprehensive solutions for their specific needs. Tech providers can achieve this by facilitating collaboration across client, agency, and internal teams, and delivering an overview of the larger marketing picture within IAPs.
Seven: Complex and fragmented workflows
The final sin afflicting the ad tech industry is complex and fragmented workflows, made worse by outdated technology platforms. By nature, digital advertising evolves rapidly but advertisers should not be required to switch between platforms and dashboards to keep up.
IAPs are able to provide brands with a single user interface, meaning less time is spent on activation and additional redundant tasks. Advertisers can then re-invest this time in their overarching strategy to solve real business problems.
Keeping these stumbling blocks in mind, brands can continue to make the right partnership decisions to optimise their ad measurement, data, and digital strategy through an IAP. Likewise, ad tech vendors will be able to offer the best in digital innovation through turning programmatic into a streamlined and collaborative ecosystem. Maximising transparency is the next step for industry players looking to build a stronger, more efficient digital landscape.
By Phil Acton
Country Manager, UK & Benelux