P&G says it's time to clean up digital advertising supply chain

11:17 AM, 21 March 2017

Pop ups. Ads with misleading links. Ads that take over the screen or appear over portions of video content.

We can all agree: there are some aggressively placed, banal advertisements online. Unfortunately, these advertisements have become synonymous with the digital landscape itself.

Photo courtesy of: Daniel Oines

The online battlefield

Consumers around the world are blocking online ads in droves in response to digital advertising trends, desperate to avoid spam-like online ads. Even if it means being unable to enter a website!

As advertisers, we cannot overlook the severity of this situation.

We also cannot fault the consumers who use ad blockers if the digital platform they use is littered with rubbish.

During the 2017 IAB's annual leadership meeting, Procter & Gamble's (P&G) Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard addressed these concerns and how a new system could benefit everyone involved.

"We're all wasting way too much time on and money on a media supply chain with poor standards adoption", he said. "We have a media supply chain that's murky at best and fraudulent at worst".

P&G's plan for digital advertising reform

1.Only buy from companies which report results using the same viewability standard.

The way effectiveness is measured needs to be uniformed; there needs to be one standard across all platforms.

In an effort to establish one cohesive standard, Pritchard has pointed to the Media Ratings Council (MRC) as the definitive classification of measuring viewability efficiency.

2.Only buy from companies which use accredited third party verification.

No publisher should self-report viewability results as the conflicts of interest are distinctively clear.

By adopting MRC-accredited third-party verification, P&G wants to set a precedent in stabilising objective viewability results. Pritchard expects every media supplier including publishers and measurement vendors to do the same.

3. Only do business with agencies offering transparent contracts.

Are agencies making the best choices when placing your creative work?

Using P&G as an example, Pritchard mentions that big companies don't usually make all the buys in their ad campaigns. They turn the specifics over to agencies that sort out the details.

Prichard suggests full transparency. This includes terms requiring funds to be used for media payment only, all rebates to be disclosed and returned, and all transactions subject to audit.

4. Find out who or what is viewing your ads.

Are your ads being seen by real humans?

Because people can click on digital ads, publishers often get paid based on engagement rather than impressions.

Within the scope of a platform where fake sites are published and fake people click, Pritchard is collaborating with the Trustworthy Accountability Group, a self-regulatory body aimed at eliminating ad fraud, to ensure ads are seen by real people.

5.P&G is ready to re-allocate dollars.

P&G has given its agencies and media suppliers a year's notice, and made the consequences of not complying with its new strategy completely clear: by taking its business elsewhere.

For a more in depth analysis of Pritchard's five point plan, you can watch his talk during the 2017 IAB annual leadership meeting.

Is Pritchard's plan the answer?

Time will tell, but ANZA agrees that creating a better digital ecosystem begins with establishing clearer visibility standards to ensure finer quality control.

As Pritchard says:

"We're all wasting way too much time and money on a media supply chain with poor standards adoption. Too many players grading their own homework, too many hidden touches, and too many holes to allow criminals to rip us off".

By ensuring quality vetting of advertisements, ANZA believes the Industry can produce better advertising to drive growth.

It's a win-win for both advertisers and consumers.

What are your thoughts on P&G's plan to improve our digital ecosystem? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to lindsay@anza.co.nz

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