Australian marketers can stop wasting ad dollars on digital campaigns by insisting on transparency and best practice

The latest AMAA Media Trust research, published recently, highlights the big issues for the Australian digital ad industry – and shows that many companies struggle to resolve them. On one hand the industry bemoans wasting marketing budget on bad sites, ad fraud and poor reporting, while on the other hand it doesn’t want to pay to fix the problem.

Here are two key result from the AMAA’s research:

  • 60% of industry respondents reported experiencing digital marketing issues (e.g. misreported metrics, poor brand safety and ad fraud) with the most of these saying it wasted marketers’ funds.
  • Four fifths of marketers are dissatisfied with how the most important digital trading issues are being addressed by the industry. Top issues are ad fraud, best practice in programmatic advertising and trading transparency.

Faced with this information, it isn’t surprising that 70% of marketers said that more robust self-governance by an industry body, with trading partners being certified for best practice, should increase trust, lower risk for marketers and improve advertising performance.

 However, despite agreeing that overseas industry governance models went a long way to resolve these issues in their markets, marketers blamed ‘lack of awareness of these issues’ and ‘complacency’ as key reasons for their slow adoption in Australia. But the biggest issue for agencies was that ‘no one wants to pay for it’. So, although industry governance models are seen as the answer, Australia lags behind the UK, US and parts of Europe at introducing regulated best practice guidelines.

Yes, it’s true that introducing more transparency along with new processes and independent checks costs a bit to implement but, weighed against the huge advantages that they bring, it really is hard to see why advertisers aren’t pushing harder for them. Marketers should absolutely insist that their agency uses one of a number of established tools to protect brand safety and prevent ad fraud – and the agency should be able to demonstrate that they are being used. If they can’t, or won’t, marketers should look elsewhere. And if marketers want real transparency of media spend, brand safety and ad fraud protection and performance then working directly with a technology company is the answer.

One quick fix is to use an ad tech company headquartered in the EU which offers regulated, independently audited brand safety and ad fraud protection as part of their service. For example, in the UK, JICWEBS oversees the independent development of Good Practice and Standards for digital ad trading in the UK – so ask if your ad tech provider is independently audited for JICWEBS Brand Safety and Anti-fraud protection processes. In addition, look out for the IAB’s Gold Standard, and make sure that the company uses ADS.txt – a recent initiative to further fight against fraud and misrepresented domain. You won’t be surprised to learn that Crimtan, with its HQ in London, supports all these initiatives and offers transparency, brand safety and ad fraud protection to all clients.

But it’s no use providing these advanced tools unless you understand how to use them properly, so make sure that your supplier is experienced in how to use them – preferably through many years of experience of applying them to thousands of campaigns and billions of impressions.

For full transparency though, you will need to go one step further and work directly with your ad tech company. With the right deal in place they will working alongside you (often embedded in your office), sharing everything they do – the data and media that works, what it costs, viewability, brand safety and ad fraud reports.

So, don’t just wait for the industry to introduce regulations in Australia; by asking the right questions and finding the right partner, greater trust, lower risk and improved advertising performance is already available in the Australian market.