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Advertisers look for in-house solution to problem of digital media transparency

New research from advertising technology and services company AudienceScience claims that only 27 per cent of advertisers feel that having the most talented media agency contributes to the success of their digital advertising campaigns, while 46 per cent of overall advertisers overall and and 56 per cent spending £40m plus of believe that a deeper in-house knowledge of digital advertising technology will be the most important factor in bringing them digital advertising success. 43 per cent of advertisers plan on bringing more responsibility in-house for digital planning within the next 12 months.

The research was carried out for advertising technology and services company AudienceScience with the International Advertising Association, Warc and M&M Global. Interviews were conducted by InSites Consulting in Spring 2014 worldwide including 486 working in agencies, 82 senior advertisers, 189 at media/tech companies and 38 consultants/academics in the media industry.

AudienceScience chief revenue officer Mark Connolly says: “Global digital advertising is nearly a $140 billion industry and advertisers continue to spend more and more in digital. Our research shows that although the way advertisers buy media is changing, opacity and complexity of media trading remain a major problem for the industry. Advertisers are starting to respond to this lack of transparency by taking ownership of their digital advertising away from media agencies and by adopting enterprise technology that ensures transparency and control in-house.”

The lack of transparency in media trading still remains a huge issue for advertisers: 69 per cent of advertisers feel that media trading transparency across the industry has stayed the same or declined, reflecting the general feeling that the lack of transparency into all costs associated with digital advertising is the biggest problem with digital advertising today. 43 per cent of advertisers believe that there are still too many vendors and middlemen associated with buying digital advertising space.

rtb-ecosystem-mediumMarketers are shifting away from contextual buying: While a number of advertisers still allocate a percentage of their digital advertising budget towards contextual buys with specific publishers, the vast majority, 82 per cent, are moving this money away towards audience-targeted buys. With the majority of advertisers planning on buying more media via real-time bidding (RTB), the shift to audience-targeted buying looks inevitable.

Advertisers are also starting to target consumers across devices: As many consumers have more than one digital device, with many having three or four, advertisers are realising the importance of identifying a user across all devices in order to better control frequency and messaging of their ads. The vast majority (76 per cent) of brands will plan and buy media across digital screens in order to target people across all their devices.

It’s hardly a surprise that advertisers are sceptical of some media agency and ‘middlemen’ digital offerings. Some of these constitute media broking – the agency or whomever buying at one price and selling on at a higher one. But other studies have also shown that much of the inventory purchased through advertisers’ preferred real-time bidding doesn’t actually exist; some of the sites in question are scams.

It looks as though ‘smoke and mirrors’ will continue to define the digital media industry for the forseeable future.

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