Monday, October 30, 2017

Online advertising lacks accountability

Haley Rischar

Digital advertising curtosy of Adweek

In a digital age where the internet challenges the rules of multiple media platforms, the advertising profession is now dedicating more of its time to dealing with ethical choices... or so we hope.

Large companies have the opportunity to instill million-dollar ads directed at millions of people, where smaller companies with a small online audience are held accountable by a much smaller community. According to Alex Kantrowitz's "Digital ad fraud is rampant. Here's why so little has been done about it", purging fraudulent impressions from the system would mean higher media prices and lower performance.

"Fraud pumps up publishers' traffic, exchanges get paid a percentage for trading it, buying platforms' performance looks better because of it, and agencies can bring those great results to clients," he said.

Because of this, there is little incentive to fright the fraud problem advertising faces today. Brands have moved on to different forms of advertising such as "native ads" and social media.

Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Their form matches the visual design go the experience they live within, and look and feel like natural content. To function properly, the ads must behave consistently with the native user experience, and function just like natural content.

Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, as well as publishers such as Time Inc, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today, have all introduced this new type of advertising to their feeds.

This sponsored content, sometimes referred to as advertorials, have gained attention from 25% more consumers, are looked at 2% more than editorial content, and register an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads.

With this new type of advertising comes cons. Some viewers may find this content dishonest and deceptive. Countless YouTube accounts have been attacked by fans for using sponsored videos or paid product halls. Advertorial content is not classified as real content, making it a dangerous marketing strategy.

Due to these accountability issues the digital advertising industry is facing, the the transparency conversation has taken a negative direction. With ad fraud, view ability and brand safety a top focus in the industry, addressing the lack of transparency is expected.

More brands must understand the transparency issues at play and demand continued improvements and reporting to ensure the highest efficiencies are being driven," said a Huffington Post article. "After all, without such reporting, brands are unable to verify ad performance and truly understand the impact of their ad spend."

To improve digital advertising's reputation, collaborations such as IAB Tech Lab's Open Measurement Working Group has proposed an open source mobile verification SDK to provide consistent and accurate measurement of advertising performance within the app. This aims to help marketers avoid dubious sellers in the marketplace, saving marketers the time-consuming task of contacting publishers directly to verify supply side platforms.

"As technology gives us the means to interact ember more individually with consumers, the ethics of those interactions become ever more personal," said Chris Moore from Brains for Rent. "Its not about the herd anymore, and you are not a sheep. It's about you. And the choices you make. Now, more than ever, Ethics is personal."

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