The big media narrative of 2017: Transparency
Media and ad agencies took a drubbing in 2016 over such issues as kickbacks
January 6, 2017
Transparency just may be the big theme in media in 2017.
In 2016, many of the year’s biggest media stories were about the lack of transparency and the ills that it’s bred.
There was the Association of National Advertisers report alleging widespread kickbacks to agencies for steering clients to certain media sellers, Facebook’s repeated misreporting of advertising metrics, and the fake news barrage that swamped social media as the election neared.
That all culminated in two major stories in the final weeks of 2016 that rocked advertisers’ faith in their agencies even further — allegations that Russian scamsters had been bilking U.S. advertisers out of millions and the launch of a Department of Justice probe into agency price fixing at the expense of their clients.
The year ended on a heck of a down note.
The coming year will be all about sorting out those problems and coming up with ways to increase transparency in media. It will be an industry-wide effort.
Media buyers and planners can only gain from it.
They need to have the trust of their clients in order to do their jobs. The stories about click fraud and fake news and kickbacks have advertisers rightfully scared their money won’t be spent properly.
In 2017, agencies should be determined to show clients otherwise.
A few predictions on transparency
Look for agencies to demand better metrics from Facebook and to finally say “enough” to click fraud. They’ve let it go on for too long. It’s time to step up for clients.
Agencies will press Nielsen for better testing on its new ratings system, following the lead of some clients who have already spoken up, such as NBCUniversal.
Finally, agencies will get over their hurt and discomfort over the ANA study on kickbacks and set out to prove to clients they really can be trusted to work in their best interests.
The good news is that the movement for greater transparency is already building across all areas of media, and much of it is bubbling up from the ranks of buyers and sellers. It’s no longer just the ANA and a few other industry leaders.
Transparency is becoming everyone’s business, and that’s a good thing.
Like to join the cause?
Check out Media Life’s Digital Media Transparency Initiative here.
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