Media Transparency refers to your ability to see what media has been bought to advertise your products, including where those advertisements were placed, how much you paid for them, and how well they performed.
It’s the data that every company working with an advertising agency wants to know, but may not necessarily have access to.
Transparent media gives you comprehensive insights into the entire marketing and advertising supply chain, so you know how your budget is getting spent, who is getting that money, and how much you’re getting back in terms of your Return on Investment (ROI).
In recent years, the media landscape has undergone unprecedented changes thanks to digital marketing, which has revolutionized marketing and advertising, infusing the entire funnel with far more data than was ever previously available.
It’s no wonder that over the past few years, brands have allowed agencies to operate virtually autonomously, as even the agencies themselves may be having trouble keeping up with the evolution of different digital marketing channels. But, how much legroom should companies continue to grant those agencies?
Protecting Your Marketing Spend
Many businesses have very little idea of how their marketing budgets are spent by agencies, and some may not even be following up on these metrics at all and simply trusting the agency to make good decisions on their behalf.
In this modern era, this is a dangerous way to approach marketing, especially when data is readily available and could easily be shared with advertisers.
We suggest pursuing better media transparency to ensure that your marketing dollars are being spent appropriately, and Matrix Point excels at providing clients with the knowledge and data required to reach full transparency.
Contact us today to find out how we can help analyze your current media campaigns to ensure your money is being spent with your best interest in mind.
Why Is Marketing Transparency so Important?
Digital advertising transparency is not only important in terms of cost, but also from the perspective of inventory as well.
Knowing when, how, and where your ad space is purchased is crucial to marketing success, even if you trust your partner agency to monitor and optimize against these elements on your behalf. In so many cases, brands that have hired well-known media buying agencies and ad tech firms end up finding out that these partners don’t prioritize quality ad inventory, leading to waste and inefficiency.
To improve your marketing results, you’ll simply need to find out where you serve banners, PPC ads, Social Media ads, emails, and other marketing messages.
Without this crucial information, your media budget could be getting squandered, and you wouldn’t be aware of it! With information provided via media transparency, you will be able to make informed, data-driven decisions – and you’ll be far less susceptible to fraud!
Where Did Media Transparency Come From?
In the past, some online marketing agencies set up a lucrative business using an arbitrage-based model, bulk-buying digital inventory and marking it up before selling it to advertisers. In some cases, this wasn’t necessarily a problem because it provided excellent results, but in others, it was a disastrous waste of limited marketing funds.
In recent years, as the issues of fraud and brand safety have become much more important, brands began asking for more transparency within the advertising funnel and for answers to questions like where their ads were being run, and under what context.
Domain spoofing, in particular, became a problem for many programmatic advertisers, leading to wildly inefficient campaigns and wasted marketing dollars. As a result, programmatic advertising remains at the top of the radar of ad buying firms as the digital channel that needs the most attention to ensure best practices in transparency are adopted to protect advertiser spends!
The AMAA Trust Report confirms that marketers are losing confidence in the industry’s handling of transparency issues, with 75% of marketers agreeing that this will ultimately lead to more advertisers taking their media buying in-house. So, both sides of the industry, advertisers and the agencies themselves, have a great deal to benefit from improved transparency.
Even if your media buying agency is honest with their practices and reports, there is still the risk that they’re doing a great deal of sugarcoating to present inventory recommendations as cost-efficient, while disregarding their actual effectiveness.
Digital advertising works best when you’re able to buy the most effective inventory at the best possible price, focusing on spending efficiency to maximize ROI, rather than purchasing the cheapest solution on the market.
To protect your marketing spend against financial malpractice, fraud, or outright negligence, it’s vital that you focus on improving media agency transparency, working towards ensuring full transparency throughout the entire advertising process.
When Does Media Transparency Start?
For the most part, vendors tell advertisers what they think will win them business, but some definitely neglect to define the scope of media transparency, as it tends to complicate their campaigns by requiring more dedication of resources, reducing profits.
As an advertiser, you can take several precautions to ensure a healthy level of media transparency in your ad buying process, even if you’re working through an agency to place digital ads. The first step starts with reviewing your contract.
Review and highlight any clauses in the contract that may limit your right to audit your agency and any affiliated companies – at any given time. Additionally, make sure you’re able to pick your own financial compliance auditor to ensure objectivity and neutrality throughout the review process.
Moreover, given that the media market evolves at an accelerated pace, be sure to check whether your agency is willing to renew the transparency clauses of their contracts on an annual basis.
They should guarantee that they implement new tech developments in your agreement, ensuring advertising transparency keeps up with new technological solutions.
Audit your agency regularly to confirm any changes to in-market processes are identified and addressed. Ask yourself:
How much insight can I get on media costs, audience level, ad level, placement level?
The more detailed your reporting is, the more likely you are to partner with a high transparency agency. Your ability to analyze costs and related actions at the placement and individual ad level will make it easier to test and pivot toward tactics that have a positive impact on ROI.
Make sure to inquire about your vendor’s approach to attribution, specifically for assets you can control and test against.
Moving beyond blind faith to a comprehensive review of your revenue-generating assets will give you greater clarity into what inventory is worth spending against – allowing you to also determine which inventories or even entire audiences you can simply remove to help reduce inefficiencies.
As an advertiser using online display and programmatic advertising, your ad-buying firm should be willing to comply with these requests for additional transparency, and readily agree to provide you access to the following:
- Complete inventory audit
- ITP and GDPR plans
- New and original creatives
- Third-party tracking
- Brand safety measures
- Ad fraud risk management
Contact MatrixPoint to Improve Your Marketing Transparency
To maximize the returns of your online ad spends, you need to maximize transparency in digital marketing.
By regularly updating contracts and auditing your agency’s compliance to transparency clauses, your business will not only be able to ensure greater media transparency but also improve the results of your marketing efforts.
After all, agencies that are regularly being audited are much more likely to keep their client's best interests at heart and to ensure that they’re spending client dollars as wisely as possible. Getting more insight, and therefore control over your digital advertising spends, will be crucial for improving your real-world business results – and Matrix Point is here to help!
Matrix Point is equipped with the right platforms and tools to help you review, assess and improve your media transparency, ensuring your campaigns operate at optimal performance.
Ready to schedule a consultation with Matrix Point? Contact us to learn more about our media transparency solutions and to find out how they can help improve your marketing ROI.