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Emma Newman 

This is our opportunity to make transparency non-negotiable

This is our opportunity to make transparency non-negotiable

Partner contentThere are more people than ever to probe under the hood and make the programmatic media ecosystem more transparent, argues Pubmatic's Emma Newman.

Transparency in programmatic has gone through several evolutions over the years. Today, the focus has moved beyond simple provision of reports and full disclosure of fees to a more advanced state that requires many more factors.

The digital advertising industry has reached a pivotal point whereby we have the opportunity to rebuild the value chain and ensure that publishers, brands, and consumers get real value from advertising.

Simplify, collaborate, and educate

One of the newer components of transparency is compliance. Publishers and advertisers must ensure that every participant in their value chain can demonstrate that they meet all applicable privacy legal requirements and communicate this in a way that everyone can understand, not just those who are legal- or tech-savvy.

Platforms that are able to clearly describe how they use consumer, publisher, and advertiser data, along with industry bodies, are bringing much needed education to the market which is rebuilding trust.

The push towards moving more media budgets to the open internet is providing an opportunity to improve transparency. The success of collaborative initiatives depends on clear disclosures of the needs and objectives of all parties involved.

Again, this is arming the industry with more knowledge and providing a forum in which to organise ourselves better, challenge the status quo, and ask questions. This is exactly what is needed to give everyone a fair chance of success.

In the past, publishers have been happy with the simple fact that advertising brings them revenue. In this new era of transparency we’re seeing that, as publishers learn more, there is a greater focus on how that revenue is being generated. Trusted partners will be open to sharing and explaining their data.

This simplification and education is enabling publishers and advertisers to identify high-risk vendors, and the collaborative culture we’re creating means that as soon as a potentially high-risk vendor is identified we can act as a group to understand what’s going on and take appropriate action.

Cross-market learnings

As well as learning from others in our markets, there is an opportunity to learn from other markets who have perhaps taken different routes to addressing transparency, are subject to different regulations, or have different approaches to trading.

Europe excels in data protection and consent management, Germany and France are perhaps leading the way with publisher coalitions already in place that go beyond transparency and encompass shared campaign identifiers.

These initiatives will bring valuable insights into the effectiveness of cross-publisher identifiers which could seriously speed up the development of a unified, global approach. This, in turn, will help expedite the process of creating consistent standards which are a foundation for success.

On the other hand, the US is not as advanced when it comes to data privacy simply because they haven’t had to adapt as much without GDPR at the forefront. However, as more states consider adapting privacy laws, and consumers become more curious about how their data is collected and used, US publishers and brands would be well placed to look at how European companies explain privacy to consumers to prepare for a continued rise in interest and future demands for clarity.

Now and next

For those interested in understanding more about the evolution of transparency, the best place to start is by asking questions and educating yourself from trusted resources.

Ask partners to help you to understand what is going on with your media investments, what are you buying, how, when, why and for how much.

Make sure you have access to all media partners and comprehensive data insights – don’t settle for sprawling spreadsheets – have meaningful conversations and build trusted relationships.

It’s also paramount to bring your own value to the table by sharing your needs so people can help you.

Over time, we should see data teams play a more prominent role in transparency, with more auditing, and technology automation. There will also be a bigger role played by procurement and legal teams to ensure that contracts are robust and compliant.

There is no doubt that programmatic is here to stay and there are more people than ever who are in a position to probe under the hood from an holistic value perspective.

There is a huge opportunity up for grabs with the industry heading towards true collaboration with transparency a non-negotiable requirement to bring to the table.

Emma Newman is chief revenue officer at Pubmatic

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