Originally published in The Drum
Of all the issues dominating adtech discussions, transparency is the one that most concerns buyers. It is also an area in which the industry is investing a great deal of time to tackle. So why is this so important? Ultimately, it’s about trust – trust in programmatic, trust in vendors, trust in the emerging channels (especially in-app and video) and, overall trust in the industry.
The issue of transparency has given rise to supply path optimisation (SPO), as the buyside looks to address transparency across the supply chain, fee structures, and inventory. This is leading agencies to reassess their vendor relationships as they look to develop deeper partnerships with fewer trusted suppliers that can deliver value across the chain.
The industry has rolled out a wealth of solutions to deliver greater transparency which are making a real difference. The introduction of ads.txt, app-ads.txt and most recently Sellers.Json and Supply Chain Object are all designed to bring transparency and fight fraud in the supply chain. PubMatic is a leader in transparency initiatives and has actively supported and implemented these, on top of the work we have done to create a more attractive digital advertising environment for advertisers.
This includes developing partnerships with key vendors such as White Ops, Majestic and Pixelate to deliver on brand safety, inventory quality and viewability; introducing a fraud-free program so buyers do not pay for fraud; achieving key industry accreditations with the likes of Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) in the US and JICWEBS and the IAB’s Gold Standard in the UK. We’ve also been allowing organisations that have the necessary expertise and resources to access log level data to use to deliver greater transparency and effectiveness.
Despite introducing a raft of solutions, the industry is not standing still. Several new initiatives are being launched to look into what is happening across the supply chain to help deliver transparency and trust. Many companies have been approached to be involved in all of these, and while welcoming the sentiment behind them, we’ve found it’s impossible to support them all.
PubMatic, for example, has chosen to be involved with the UK Digital Supply Chain Study being carried out by PwC on behalf of ISBA and the AOP. We feel this will deliver necessary insights into the digital supply chain that can help the industry going forward. Other initiatives have merit, of course. However the unbiased nature of this study will provide the most value to the industry without adding an additional cost in the ad tech chain.
Yes, there’s always more work to be done around transparency. And the industry is continuing to develop and introduce solutions that are enhancing trust and making digital advertising ever more attractive to advertisers. Just last week the IAB held a webinar around its new Data Transparency Standards. These identify the minimum requirements that need to be disclosed when selling data. This includes a new audience taxonomy intended to standardise the way data is labeled to help facilitate comparison of similar data sets across different providers. Again, the endgame is to create greater transparency around data so buyers can make better informed decisions.
Ultimately, it’s up to everyone in the industry to support the continued push around transparency. It’s in the interest of the whole digital advertising ecosystem, and as this flourishes all those businesses that help deliver this trust will also be rewarded.