Creating a More Stable, Transparent Online Ad Climate​​​​​​​

Good things normally follow when you demand the best. That is the mantra among the larger names in the digital advertising environment. The 2016 online ad climate suffered from a number of shortfalls, in large part due to the consistent use of programmatic advertising.

Programmatic created an Internet where fake news websites, as well as advertising fraud, were able to thrive throughout 2016 thanks to a lack of whistleblowers in place to spot fraudulent news sites and bot-powered impressions.

But a problem can only get so big before it cannot be ignored. Ad fraud took $7.2 billion from digital advertisers in 2016 from the $72 billion-plus spent on digital ads. Countless numbers of advertisers saw their ads end up on fake news sites. Not only were advertiser’s money going to fake news proprietors, but brand’s reputations were at risk by appearing on fake news sites that harbor hateful political or discriminatory rhetoric.

Since this realization, many advertisers have spoken out on how to fix the ungoverned ways of the digital advertising ecosystem. According to AdAge, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said P&G would stop paying for any digital media, ad tech services, agencies or “others that don't adhere to industry standards for fraud protection, viewability and third-party verification.”

In addition, the cross-platform measurement company comScore concluded that ad performance was higher and more effective on “premium” publishing sites like The New York Times, Conde Nast and numerous others belonging to the trade organization Digital Content Next.

"Responsible brands want to advertise on responsible platforms," said Brian Lovell, CEO of Red Interactive Agency.

These are both positive steps towards the ideal web Pritchard described. Fake news is limited when ads are only sold to respectable publishers. And when brands such as Procter & Gamble refuse to engage in the current climate, it can only force digital media and other ad sellers to create a more transparent and honest Internet.


G.J. Melia