Video Essentials

3 Steps for Guaranteeing Transparency: Adobe Shows the Way

Advertisers, do you know where your online ad budgets are going? If not, Adobe has a three-step transparency solution for you.

There’s been a lot of discussion about ad transparency in the past year. Speaking at the 2018 Adobe Summit, Adobe product marketing manager Toccara Baker showed where we are now and where we need to go.

“This is not a new topic, but it’s definitely an evolving topic,” Baker said. Some players are murky while some are outright fraudulent. To address that there’s been a call-to-action to the entire industry, thanks to major advertisers like Unilever, asking brands and agencies to demand transparency in all operations.

According to eMarketer, 60 percent of U.S. ad agency professionals are concerned about the quality and transparency of their inventory sources. The problem isn’t just the quality of the ad placements, Baker pointed out, but also a lack of understanding about who all the players are.

“People are starting to dig into the value of their overall investment,” Baker said. And that’s the first step in creating transparency:

  1. Understand all the advertising partners and their costs.

Advertisers need to know about every company they deal with, including what value they bring and what they charge.


Adobe product marketing manager Toccara Baker

A standard ad buy includes many players, including DMPs, ad servers, verification providers, DSPs, ad-blockers, exchanges, SSPs, ad networks, publishers, and managed services. Furthermore, these players get paid in different ways, such as with flat fees, percentages, and viewability guarantees.

The crucial first step is understanding all the players involved and mapping their costs. Run a calculation on an upcoming campaign, Baker advised, and list what companies get paid to learn where money is going. Are the costs appropriate for the value delivered? How much of the campaign budget goes to reaching viewers?

Thanks to transparency concerns, brands are changing the way they operate. Some are increasing spending on channels or sites they can prove are brand safe, while others are reviewing relationships to understand all the costs.

  1. Demand transparency where there is none.

Once advertisers have a better idea where their costs are, they need to shine a light on any dark areas. Insist on contracts, Baker advised, and spell out payment details.

  1. Push for transparency and rely on third-party measurement.

The final step is to demand best practices that will make measurement more transparent in the future. Unless everyone in the value chain uses third-party measurements, service providers will supply their own metrics showing what they believe is important.


Charting the players in a hypothetical campaign


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