The vast majority (95%) of chief marketing officers (CMOs) at some of the UK's biggest brands have overhauled their digital marketing strategy in the last 12 months in response to growing concerns around brand safety, transparency and fraud.
It comes after a turbulent year for digital advertising, first triggered by Procter & Gamble's chief brand officer Marc Pritchard, whose call-to-arms for the digital supply chain to clean up its act in January set the scene for The Times' exposé on YouTube's brand safety issues later in the year.
In response to these revelations research from Teads, the video adtech outfit, revealed that CMOs are demanding greater transparency from their partners, with nearly half (44%) of the CMOs surveyed revealing they have reviewed relationships with suppliers this year, while 43% saying they have reviewed agencies.
In the future, 93% of marketing heads will choose agencies or suppliers based on their ability to prove brand safety and transparency. Over a third (36%) have boycotted or reduced spend on channels that can’t guarantee brand safety and 37% of CMOs say they are now directly involved in the execution of digital strategy. Two fifths (39%) have discussed booking campaigns direct with suppliers, and two fifths (41%) are even considering taking ad buying in-house.
Despite this action, brand safety concerns persist for CMOs. For these concerns to be overcome there are three main areas where CMOs want to see change. First, nearly half (46%) believe there needs to be tighter industry self-regulation and better industry-wide standards for fraud and brand safety.
Second, 45% believe there should be more focus on reporting the quality of ad placements and environments, rather than just reach, driven by third party measurement.
Finally, 34% of brands want greater transparency from suppliers and agencies about where ads appear and what their definitions of success are eg what a viewable ad is (42%).
The survey was undertaken in November by independent market research company Censuswide, and includes the views from 100 CMOs and marketing VPs at UK companies. The respondents all work within companies with an annual turnover of at least £20m.
Justin Taylor, UK managing director at Teads, said: “2017 has been a wake up call for the whole digital advertising industry and it’s encouraging to see senior leaders taking this seriously. In order to get to the root of these issues we need to rally together as an industry to make sure transparency, brand safety and fraud-free environments are guaranteed at every level.
“For brands and agencies, this means having transparency and verification on ad buys; if it’s not viewed, the advertiser shouldn’t pay. For consumers this means seeing non-intrusive, quality creative. For publishers, it’s having access to high-yield video inventory and global brand advertisers, with the right tools to prevent fraud."