Mindshare attend The Guardian Changing Media Summit

Programmatic transparency: What’s next?

With between 60-70% of digital display now being bought programmatically, it is becoming increasingly important for us to be at the forefront of the conversation, as experts, we are required to talk confidently about programmatic technology, and sometimes it’s shortfalls. One of the big topics of conversation now is the transparency of programmatic and this was discussed at large during the Guardian changing media summit.

Agencies often get a bad rep when it comes to shortfalls of programmatic buying, including the lack of transparency. Often it is the fault of the technology partners involved vs the agencies, these partners who take a huge fee and hike up the prices in a manner that is not fully transparent. What was very refreshing to hear on this matter was Jerry Daykin, head of global digital media partnerships, Diageo suggesting that some of this responsibility should also fall on the brands themselves. As they are constantly pushing their agency partners for cheaper media space, they too are at risk. This race to the bottom shouldn’t necessarily result in a lack of trust in the inventory or servicing, but this lack of understanding and bid for efficient media buys means this is fast becoming the attitude of some reluctant advertisers.

Trust in digital advertising has fallen to an all-time low, this has happened in tandem with the rise of budgets going toward programmatic. To counteract this the IAB launched IAB Gold Standard in 2017, to show which companies – be It brand, media partners or agency are doing the best job.

Does this lack of trust in digital mean that the future of programmatic is a fully disclosed trading model? Our own partners such as Xaxis offer non-disclosed trading in a bid to focus more on the overall results than the individual platforms that may be driving these. Brands such as Diaggio, however, are angling towards wanting full transparency. It’s understandable in the wake of all the brand safety issues of the last year that clients want to know exactly where and how their ads have been served, and who is taking a cut of the profits. Brands want to understand where there is a break or weakness in the chain. With a non-disclosed mo, el the overall results may show positive inclines, because they are designed in a way to favour results over platforms. There still, however, appears to be a desire from brands to shave off the worst performing platforms in this race to the bottom, and in a bid for the most efficient media plan.

For many including myself, there are elements of programmatic that are still difficult to grasp. Bethan Crockett, senior director of brand safety and digital risk, GroupM EMEA mentioned that if anyone wants to interrogate their own client’s programmatic agendas then there’s a behind the scenes day at Xaxis available for both ourselves and clients. Gaining this clarity over such a complex and ever-changing minefield of programmatic offerings will be of paramount importance in years to come. The more we upskill ourselves, the greater visibility we will have how we can best utilise this technology that is quickly taking the lion share of our digital budgets.

Rachel Coffey, Account Director