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Study finds ‘agency model’ is ‘broken’ when it comes to programmatic and trust

Research from Infectious Media suggests that trust between marketers and their agencies has broken down

Marketer mistrust of the programmatic supply chain has been a major narrative of the digital advertising industry in 2017. Research published today (November 16) details the extent of the misgivings of media agencies' role in the sector, with over half of marketers (53%) labeling them “untrustworthy.”

Over two-thirds (71%) of participants believe their media agencies have “struggled” to adapt to the demands of programmatic media buying, with concerns over financial disclosures and measurement in particular.

Some 74% of participants said agencies don’t fully report financial data, while 73% claimed agencies do not accurately measure the performance of their programmatic media buys. Furthermore, 66% asserted that the status quo means they lack the control over their relationships with premium publishers – a scenario they hope to remedy.

The survey was commissioned by independent media agency Infectious Media, and it surveyed over 200 “decision-making marketers” with a budget exceeding $100,000 per year, hailing from North America, EMEA and APAC.

The vast majority of participants (96%) claimed they believe agencies do have a role in the programmatic space – albeit in need of reform – although 86% reported that they would manage some aspects of programmatic media buying in-house, suggesting that a “hybrid model” will soon become the norm.

Of those surveyed, 49% of “larger advertisers” reported a desire to bring strategic planning in-house and that they would like to more directly manage their inventory supply relationships with publishers, with 71% claiming this was due to now having the requisite staff to do so.

Meanwhile, 69% said advancements in adtech – such as demand-side platforms (DSP) or data management platforms (DMP) – would aid their ambitions of bringing adtech in-house.

Martin Kelly, Infectious Media chief executive officer and high-profile commentator on adtech, said the findings should be considered a “wake-up call for our industry” and that agencies need to act urgently to address such concerns.

“Advertisers could – and should – begin demanding a better deal, which means revisiting contracts and inserting audit clauses, or switching to partners that grant full data access,” he added.

Kelly went on to highlight that agencies need to adopt a more flexible approach to cater to marketers’ ongoing need to employ media agencies when it comes to executing their media strategies.

“This will be crucial if agencies are to build a more effective and sustainable working relationship with brands in the future,” he added.

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