Advertisers demand a clean up of ‘the digital swamp’

The digital ad industry has received stern warnings over recent months as many leading CMO’s including Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest advertiser and Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, the world’s second-biggest advertiser, have demanded action to clean up what has been called the digital swamp.

The problems with online advertising have become a serious issue among advertisers with Big Digital’s lack of transparency, the YouTube brand safety row (when dozens of brands discovered their ads were appearing next to extremist content), computer bot fraud where ads are not even seen by humans, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when the data firm obtained personal information on 87 million Facebook users.

The YouTube brand safety row has also encouraged brands to take more responsibility for the placement of their ads. No longer are they prepared to ‘spray and pray’ and neither will they delegate all the decision-making to their media-buying agency.

Instead, as research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a US trade body for the digital ad industry and Accenture Interactive, the digital marketing arm of consulting giant Accenture has found, 65% of brands are bringing some or all of their programmatic ad-buying in-house. Many brands have also introduced tougher, so-called ‘whitelists’ of sites on which their ads can appear, as demonstrated by J.P. Morgan Chase who slashed its list of approved sites from 400,000 to about 10,000 last year. It’s clear that digital agencies need to up their game to survive.

Fiona Swainston is SVP Europe of programmatic advertising agency Digital Ignite

Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash