Transparency & Accountability in Digital Media Buying: The KPIs You Can’t Ignore

By Dan Jones / Media Buying , Media Planning / 29th August 2018

Large parts of the digital revolution have brought about massive benefits to us all. However, recent news stories about fake news, election engineering, data sharing, and mismanagement of brands on YouTube, have led to a much wider debate about the integrity of the digital revolution, and how we can best manage it moving forward. A new breed of media agency is required, and Focus On Media has transparency and accountability at its core.

Need for a new age

Back in the early 00’s, when digital ‘took off’, the possibility of being able to track consumer behaviour online, and measure success from digital activities in a far more accurate way than offline media, was superseded only by the fact that digital advertising was cheap!  However, issues concerning accountability and transparency mean that many marketers now consider all-encompassing convenience to be somewhat of an illusion.

Programmatic advertising has provided marketers with the opportunity to target specific audiences and apply machine learning to optimise its success.  However, issues with click-bots, ad-fraud, and view-ability, have also led many digital marketers to doubt the integrity of the return on investment cited in their campaign reports.

As many media planners and buyers will know, there have always been issues around reconciling the campaign reports supplied by the media owner and third-party analytics platforms like Google Analytics.  Walled gardens and app use, in particular, led to an over-reliance on the publisher’s own report and, as this Sunday Times exposé illustrates, the publisher doesn’t always get it right.

"If we elevate accountability and transparency to the same status as the sacred conversion and click, then we are going some way to acknowledging the issue and ensuring it’s not overlooked."

A new breed of media agency

There’s no silver bullet to overcome these issues, but knowing the risks means we’re able to manage them.  If we elevate accountability and transparency to the same status as the sacred conversion and click, then we are going some way to acknowledging the issue and ensuring it’s not overlooked; this is where Focus On Media can help.

Practically speaking, and particularly for brands and their partner agencies with smaller budgets, this means discussing transparency and accountability from the moment of the brief to the final hours of the campaign, something at the forefront of Focus On Media’s values.

"Focus On Media is setting a new precedent in the way media agencies work with clients, ensuring the client always remains the centre of the business."

Focus On Media is asking all the important questions; what safeguards can be put in place to ensure ads are seen by the right audience at the right time?  What technology is in place to mitigate against ad fraud and viewability?  This doesn’t need to be expensive, complex third-party technology; but can be as simple as speaking to the media owner and seeing what they have in-house, or what software they can buy in an ‘add on’ to the campaign.

It also means that when measuring success, all parties are on the same page about which analytics tool is going to provide the primary measurements.  All too often, clients and media owners are on different pages when viewing success, so discussing this at the first point of the brief, is key.

Most importantly, it also means that brands should continue to put their own data above all else and ensure maximum effort to leverage value from this source.  Of course, this all needs to be undertaken in line with GDPR legislation, but if any doubt has been cast on programmatic, using in-house data to inform third-party database purchases is key.

With an emphasis on transparent trading, Focus On Media is setting a new precedent in the way media agencies work with clients, ensuring the client always remains the centre of the business. Find out more about how we work here. 

-Dan Jones, Managing Director of Focus on Media

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Dan Jones

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Dan Jones

Dan Jones is the Managing Director at Focus On Media. With over 10 years of experience in planning and buying digital media- Dan is your expert!