Trust, safety and the pursuit of transparency in online media have been top of mind for marketers this year. From Procter & Gamble’s crackdown on wastage in its media buys, to question marks over the efficacy of media agencies, events over the last year have spotlighted just how little control marketers have had over their online advertising.
Here is a look at how brand marketers’ are evolving their digital advertising strategies, in four charts.
Marketers are still prioritizing reach
This year there’s been a lot of talk from marketers about reassessing their emphasis on scale in digital ads. P&G slashed its digital ad budget by $100 million in April, without seeing much difference on revenues. But since cutting the number of sites it runs ads on by 70 percent in April, P&G has steadily increased the number of sites it advertises on and in August there were 21 percent more sites it had ads on versus the same month last year. Brands like L’Oreal increased how many sites they ran ads on by 80 percent, Volkswagen by 59 percent and Unilever by 17 percent, over the third quarter versus the same period last year.
Simultaneously, programmatic spend for those same brands has been steadily rising over that same quarter, which suggests they have gained more transparency in campaigns, observed Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder of MediaRadar. Brands are demanding better transparency, whether that’s in the exchanges they use or the ad tech contracts they own, and that’s changing the way they buy media not necessarily how much they spend, explained Krizelman.
Marketers still don’t get the ad tech stack
Aside from the biggest advertisers, too few have the level of knowledge needed to take control of an ad tech stack. A report from media strategy consultancy ID Comms found that 41 percent of 229 senior marketing, media and procurement executives surveyed admitted they are still using ad tech “ineffectively” or “completely ineffectively.” Only 15 percent of the advertisers believed they are using their tech stack “effectively,” while no marketers claimed to be using it “very effectively.”
That knowledge gap has left many marketers dependent on their agencies. The vast majority of advertisers agreed with the statement: “Advertisers’ inability to keep up with the rapid evolution of the tech landscape makes them over-dependent on solutions provided by their agency,” according to the report.
The rise of transparent ad buying
Eighty-three percent of advertisers have become more concerned about brand safety over the last year, while around three quarters are more worried about ad fraud than previously, according to video advertising marketplace Teads, which commissioned Censuswide to survey 100 CMOs and marketing vps at U.K.-based companies with a turnover of at least £20 million ($26.6 million) earlier this month.
To quell those concerns, 44 percent of advertisers are reviewing their relationships with suppliers, while a further 43 percent are examining their agency relationships. Most marketers (93 percent) said in future they will only select agencies and suppliers that can prove transparency and brand safety. Many are also streamlining the ad buying process. Two fifths of advertisers now book campaigns direct with suppliers, removing layers from the supply chain, and 37 percent of CMOs say they are now directly involved in the execution of digital strategy, according to the same report.
Ad fraud is in the spotlight
Half of marketers believe ad fraud is their top concern within mobile programmatic, according to a study of 500 U.K. based marketers commissioned by Iotec Global. When asked about ad fraud specifically, 50 percent were “very concerned” and 41 percent were “somewhat concerned,” making up 91 percent of those surveyed.