Trust but verify: Heineken plans to in-house ad verification
Heineken is moving ad verification in-house, a shift in policy from previously relying on its agencies to police ads.
The beer brewer is running a global search for one ad verification technology it can run directly from all its markets, according to two separate executives with knowledge of the plan. Once the search ends, Heineken will have effectively brought its ad verification in-house, said one of the executives.
While Heineken isn’t the first advertiser to own the contract with ad-verification technologies, there are reasons why some have not done so. Advertisers are under more pressure than ever to show continual growth in return on investment, yet owning the contract potentially increases the cost of verification technology if the agency has preferred rates that have been secured because of the volume of business they run through a single vendor.
For advertisers like Heineken, however, the control over ad measurement is worth higher costs.
Working directly with verification companies means that Heineken can set its own benchmarks for brand safety, fraud and viewability. Previously, that would mean relying on its agencies to license the technologies that judge their own performance — in effect, marking their own homework.
Increasingly, marketers are aware that some agencies have “strategic” deals with certain ad-verification vendors that are designed to benefit the agency and the vendor, and not necessarily the brand themselves, said Anant Joshi, chief revenue officer at anti-fake-news startup Factmata. That gives agencies opportunities to mark up the verification fees, control the performance of campaigns and establish their own benchmarks.
But Heineken’s move to manage its own ad measurement isn’t just a case of keeping tabs on its agency. There’s a desire at the company, according to one source, to understand for themselves whether the online ecosystem is delivering against its needs and the best use of budget.
Heineken didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Heineken has two media-buying agencies: Dentsu Aegis and Starcom MediaVest. But having both agencies hold the same contract with the ad-verification business would’ve been tricky. “You can imagine the reluctance with agency B knowing that agency A has access to all of their buying activity and performance in those markets,” said a source. “It is, therefore, much better to centralize the license at the brand level to ensure ultimate flexibility across all markets.”
Matt Girling, the head of technology for media management firm Ebiquity’s European business, said if an advertiser does contract directly with an ad-verification company, the operational day-to-day management “can still sit with its agency or trading desk.” For some advertisers, said Girling, this has proved the optimal solution, delivering control back to the client while “recognizing the agency’s capability in its deployment in media buying.”
‘Always a straight shooter’: How Campbell Brown is working to close the trust gap between publishers and Facebook
Campbell Brown did not cut her teeth in Silicon Valley like many of her Facebook counterparts. Her background in journalism is what gives the social platform a stronger hand when working publishers.
The New York Times says it won’t use identity tech like Unified ID 2.0
The New York Times can take a stance against cookie-replacing IDs because of its successful subscription business, but the position could be risky for its advertising business.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: How a wave of independent authors is spawning more media co-ops
The past week has seen a flurry of headlines showing how individual authors are trying to work together, either in the form of co-ops, collectives or bundles.
SponsoredCompanies are following these principles to improve DEI initiatives
It has been nearly a year since the tragic killing of George Floyd sent the United States into a racial reckoning that forced companies to be held accountable for their low diversity rates. Conversations about systemic racism and lack of access were being discussed head on and with transparency. With the advertising industry already employing […]
Cheat Sheet: Apple scrambles podcasting’s paid landscape
Creators will be able to monetize their listeners by selling subscriptions on Apple Podcasts instead of just serving them ads.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: As gaming explodes as an ad medium, media agencies aim to level up
Media buyers are ramping up their efforts to guide clients through the exploding but complex world of marketing in gaming.