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Omar Oakes 

IDComms: 'staggering' lack of advertiser confidence in digital transparency

IDComms: 'staggering' lack of advertiser confidence in digital transparency

Traditional worries about media trading are now being eclipsed by ecosystem issues, according to new research from media and advertising consultancy IDComms.

The ID Comms Global Transparency Report 2021 found that concerns about digital are the number-one transparency issue for advertisers.

Just over three quarters (76%) of advertisers feel the digital supply chain as an area where they are not confident or satisfied with current levels of transparency.

Meanwhile, not one single respondent said they were confident about the digital supply chain. IDComms described this statistic as "staggering" and that it reflects a combination of issues with the digital ecosystem, including inaccurate data, hidden fees and undisclosed trading deals.

These issues are reducing the effectiveness and efficiency of money spent on digital advertising, the consultancy's report added.

Last year, a landmark report by PwC, commissioned by ISBA, found that 15% of programmatic media supply chain costs are "unattributable". The study into the "premium" end of the market found that only half of adspend actually goes to publishers .

Digital concerns now outpace more traditional worries around media trading/buying, which still remain. In 2021, 59% of respondents cited this as an area of major concern. In 2018, 73% expressed concern about rebates and agency volume bonuses (AVBs) as the number-one issue.

A lack of visibility into agency trading practices or media owner agreements was identified most frequently as a roadblock to achieving better transparency. Other common complaints included a lack of data from walled gardens and a lack of access to platforms, data visibility and granular reporting.

One of the top three priorities for 93% of advertisers in 2022 is to implement a stronger media governance process and improved access rights, the report said. The second most popular priority (86%) was to establish clear media buying and reporting principles for their agency partners.

More than half of respondents (59%) either strongly agree or agree that transparency would improve significantly if media activities were regulated by an external body. Just less than a quarter (23%) of respondents are undecided, while around a fifth (19%) disagree.

Paul Stringer, Consultant at ID Comms, said: “The growing complexity of the digital supply chain is negatively impacting advertiser confidence, even if such worries are unlikely to stem the flow of ad spend to online media.

"At the same time, historic concerns about non-transparent behaviours around media trading continue to undermine confidence. It is no wonder that advertiser sentiment is a mixture of confusion, frustration and concern.”

The results are based on 56 responses from advertisers working across media, marketing and procurement, with a range of global, regional and local market responsibilities. The advertiser respondents cumulatively spend more than $10bn on marketing communications each year with agency respondents representing all major global holding companies, as well as independents.

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