Maximising digital media transparency across programmatic activity is a top concern for APAC marketers. Here are eight steps which can help shed light on any ongoing disclosure challenges.
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More than 40 marketers across 26 different brands came together for the recent WFA Workshop on Programmatic Proficiency last month in Singapore. Held almost three years after our very first Programmatic Workshop in 2016 that focused on 'going under the bonnet', this session looked at how brands can not only increase and refine their levels of programmatic maturity but also understand the evolution of programmatic solutions for their marketing needs.
Top of mind for attendees? Transparency, unsurprisingly enough. Here, the Regional Head of Digital (SEA) of WFA strategic partners Ebiquity, Muhammad Abdullah recaps the discussion which debunked the notion that direct relationships with digital partners automatically delivers the disclosure that brands desire, and goes on to share Ebiquity's 8-point checklist that brands can use to determine if their programmatic practices are truly transparent.
An 8-point checklist for programmatic transparency
There has been an increasing trend among advertisers to develop direct relationships with digital and ad tech vendors/suppliers. A common motivation for this move is to successfully resolve potential non-disclosure and transparency issues.
Unfortunately, direct relationships do not guarantee the transparency that brands desire. This is because they form only one component of many other steps that brands must take in order to to reap the various benefits of a fully-disclosed model. Even with direct vendor/supplier relationships, brands might still unknowingly receive aggregated reports that potentially include hidden fees, mark-ups and/or margins.
Whenever the potential for hidden commercial gains exists, planning and buying bias often emerges, without detection.
Whether a brand is engaged in a disclosed or a non-disclosed model, the following 8-point checklist will help advertisers self-assess their current model. This will help shed light on any ongoing disclosure challenges across programmatic activity and ensure digital media transparency (read: value) has been maximised.
|1. Optimised media spends||Do I know the actual amount of spend that goes into actual working media?
Are the channels/tactics used driving the ROI?
|2. Data Ownership||Where does my campaign data sit?
Is my data transferable to any party/vendor that I choose to work with?
|3. Data Protection||Who is working on my account and has access to my data?
Are teams working on conflicting business firewalled?
|4. Brand Safety||Do I know if my campaign appears on any brand unsafe sites?
Has my whitelist/blacklist been implemented by the agency?
|5. Value (Cost & Quality)||Is there a trade-off / trade-up on programmatic activity vs direct buys?|
|6. Drive Performance||Are my end-goals set according to the right objectives?
Is there a commitment to an approach that continuously seeks to drive better value?
|7. Visibility & Delivery||Am I allowed access to my accounts?
Does my contract allow for internal & external audits?
|8. Campaign Learning||Does my post analysis show valid learning? (TA/creative/placement)
Does the learning get applied to my brief?
If your answers to most of these questions are a resounding 'yes', your brand is in a good place on the transparency front with the disclosure you need. Congratulations!
If your answers are mostly 'nos' (or 'don't knows') all is certainly not lost. Validate the 'no' areas to be doubly sure that these truly are areas of opacity - there is the slight chance you might actually have the information you need to say 'yes' but just didn't know it! Once you have that clarity, take the time to identify which of these areas are most immediately critical for your business and chart your course towards transparency.