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Don't follow the lazy programmatic trading trap and get on board with transparency says Impact Radius director

Don't fall into the lazy programmatic trading trap says Impact Radius chief

Transparency in programmatic is more vital than ever as brands increasingly want to learn where their spend is going. But, by ignoring this demand, advertisers are very likely serving distorted results, says Julia Smith, director of communications at Impact Radius.

When programmatic is appropriately utilised, it can be incredibly successful, if not, then this is what Smith calls “lazy trading”

How can professionals better educate themselves to be more transparent in programmatic?

Transparency is a real issue in the industry at the moment and education is absolutely key to resolving it. One of the biggest problems brands need to be aware of is that attribution can be significantly twisted, causing a big issue. A lack of transparency within programmatic will only skew the attribution models, and ultimately the results.

Transparency is key to both the value you attribute to spend and the returns you see. The correlation between the two, and something that is often forgotten, is that some businesses are still using programmatic to see how cheap they can buy inventory, rather than looking at how best it is going to perform for their brand. Businesses aren’t considering the entire consumer journey and that’s something you can link back to how you traded using programmatic to certain points. I call this lazy trading.

So, to move in the right direction and become more transparent, professionals need to educate themselves on moving away from buying cheap, as well as look at being able to target customers and thinking more about their behaviour. There should also be a focus on premium quality content, to ensure your ads are seen against that content, in a lot more sophisticated and morally ethical way.

With the right education, you will avoid being the headline in terms of transparency and brand safety.

What is leading the way in marketing transparency?

We all know transparency has been big news recently, but it’s big companies and brands like P&G, who are calling out others that are not trading ethically. These are the ones who are leading the way.

These kinds of brands with the money, a big voice and strong ideas should be pushing everybody in the industry to demonstrate true processes and technology tools, as they are the ones with the power. Brands need to be confident in saying they are transparently buying inventory that is `brand safe and fraud free – but it’s got to come from the leading brands first.

What should brand, agencies and publishers be thinking about when it comes to brand safety?

Brand safety might seem daunting at first, especially since the national press picked up on it at the beginning of the year, so they need to get it right. Here, they can start by looking at what tools are right for them, as there are so many that have varying strengths in brand safety and ad fraud. They can do this by evaluating the options against the business objectives and needs. I also think it’s important to test, test, test! Try different tools and see which platform captures the most amount of fraud.

Also, don’t be afraid to put your own terms and conditions in place. If you are working with an agency, you yourself can dictate what you believe to be the correct threshold of the levels of fraud which you find acceptable or deem to be acceptable in terms of brand safety. Have the companies passed their verification? Are there processes in place to protect my spend? Businesses need to be asking these questions.

On top of this, companies are seeking accreditation for JICWEBS Content Verification, but have come across a sticking point relating to the ability to block. Numerous businesses in our industry do not block but do notify and we are requesting a word change to the following effect to allow a number of companies to seek accreditation.

Some companies are unable to gain this certification because of the wording in there, which is frustrating because they can show real effective processes which will allow them to protect any spend that goes through their platform. Hopefully though, this will be revised to allow those brand safe and fraud free companies and prevention tools to be certified.

Impact Radius is supporting the DADI Awards, how important is this for the industry?

These awards have such a wide breadth of categories and it’s also really great to see that there is a new category this year, Best Technology platform. The DADIs represent so many areas of our digital industry, unlike many other awards. The DADIs are also all encompassing which creates a platform that is be able to applaud those that are innovative, successful and effective within every part of our industry. Be it performance marketing, or mobile, video, display or platform, whatever it is, there is an award within there for you to enter.

You are sponsoring the use of AI/machine learning category. What do you think is innovating this area right now?

There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence (AI) right now, but people aren't necessarily understanding what it means and how to use it successfully.

At Impact Radius, we use machine learning throughout our whole marketing platform and when we look at fraud, it is machine learning that is ultimately providing us with the information on whether traffic is fraudulent or not. It's AI that is the very backbone to our tools and platforms.

AI is now at the heart of a lot of platforms and is very much at the core of digital advertising in 2017 – it will be even more prevalent moving into 2018. It is now up to companies to learn how you translate that effectively for their businesses. What does it mean for a brand? Why does it benefit them to have AI running through the very core of a platform? I welcome those questions and I am looking forward to companies who are leading the way in AI to be recognised at the DADI awards.

Why is Impact Radius sponsoring these awards?

The best tech platform category promotes the ability for companies like Impact Radius to take part in awards that focus on new marketing technology. My belief is that I will always give support to those awards that truly represent all sectors of this industry – including the tech platforms!

You can also meet with relevant brands and agencies all the way through to the networks and publishers – something else which I find beneficial. It’s a great event and we’re proud sponsors.

Impact Radius are a sponsor for the DADI Awards, which brings together individuals and companies at the forefront of digital, providing a perfect opportunity for those entering to prove how good they are.

The ceremony will take place on Thursday 19 October at the Park Plaza Westminster, London. You can book your table now online.