Media Buy Transparency – mind the gap

Here is a very interesting article in Ad Age
     It looks like some clients are going to start looking to review details of contracts, relationships, and usage of programmatic buying, and digital media trading desks to better understand how and where their media budgets are being spent.
     They probably should look. I know some of the big agencies created “deals” with some of the programmatic trading desk firms. Also know that a few firms in that space were willing to “rebate” budgets back to agencies. Some even offered Taan rebates for spending by Taan members on behalf your clients. There seems to be a big hole in tracking the media allocation of funds. Some estimates are showing as much as 40% difference between the budget expenditure and the actual media buy.
     We should all know more, and be prepared to answer questions when asked.
     Just my opinion.
     To get some additional expert perspective, I reached out to our member, NorBella, for their opinion on this situation. Here is the response from Stephanie and Nate:
Transparency is one of the leading issues in the programmatic space. Not having any insight as to where an advertiser’s messaging is ending up can be unnerving for both advertisers and the agencies working on their behalf, both of whom want to make sure that the ad dollars are working as hard and efficiently as possible. We are pleased that the industry, through the IAB, is addressing these issues by certifying media companies through the Quality Assurance Guidelines on transparency and brand safety, however there is still work to be done. With no exact science to determine how the budget is allocated between the vendor, data providers and actual media, NorBella is doing all that we can to battle the issue of transparency and ease advertiser uncertainty. We work with trusted leaders in the programmatic space who incorporate preventative software, such as Integral Ad Science, Trust Metrics, or Double Verify, on their back end to monitor bot activity and eliminate any sites that show fraudulent activity or pirated content.  We also incorporate Integral Ad Science for all programmatic campaigns on our end to make sure that all impressions are running in a brand safe environment. Additionally, we have started having discussions with all non-site direct vendors about incorporating viewability standards or benchmarks prior to campaign launch.