It’s time to put the transparency back in your ad spend

by Toccara Baker

Posted on 09-12-2018

The dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing uni­verse can feel over­whelm­ing. People’s con­sump­tion habits have evolved at light­ning speed, which has left brands to man­age an incred­i­bly com­plex web of inter­ac­tions across a near-infi­nite num­ber of channels.

To make life even hard­er, most com­pa­nies are try­ing to do this with tech­nolo­gies and process­es that were nev­er designed for the task.

For years, mar­keters have turned to third-par­ty solu­tions and spe­cial­ists to help them grap­ple with the com­plex­i­ty of ad tech. This approach works in the short term but we have reached a point where many busi­ness­es are rely­ing on a chaot­ic mess of third-par­ty attri­bu­tion mod­els, sup­ply sources, and data solutions.

What’s more, they have to trust that all these exter­nal par­ties are work­ing in their best interests.

To gain greater trans­paren­cy into their process­es and data, brands also need more con­trol and own­er­ship of their data, sys­tems and mea­sure­ment. This reliance on third par­ties may give them some sem­blance of con­trol, but if we’re hon­est with our­selves the real pow­er in dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing still lies out­side their walls.

A reliance on point solu­tions makes trans­paren­cy into what your part­ners are doing near­ly impos­si­ble, so how can a com­pa­ny see where its adver­tis­ing spend is real­ly going? How can it know that its invest­ment is con­tribut­ing to any real uplift in engage­ment or sales?

Speak­ing at Adobe Sum­mit 2018 in Lon­don, Duracell’s Head of Dig­i­tal, Jon Ones, raised anoth­er valid point – a ful­ly out­sourced dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing ecosys­tem also makes it dif­fi­cult to avoid over­laps in reach or wast­ed KPIs because exter­nal par­ties tend to define their own suc­cess criteria.

This way of work­ing is clear­ly flawed. Trans­paren­cy is crit­i­cal for brands that want to ensure their dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing sys­tems and spend are deliv­er­ing results and con­tribut­ing to a bet­ter over­all expe­ri­ence for their cus­tomers. In addi­tion to a gain­ing more trans­paren­cy into how much they are spend­ing across the board – from ad serv­ing to inven­to­ry to ver­i­fi­ca­tion – mar­keters also need a bet­ter way to tack­le fraud, which is ram­pant and threat­ens to eat up their already tight budgets.

Turn­ing back to Dura­cell, the com­pa­ny invest­ed in Adobe Ad Cloud to move away from a ful­ly out­sourced pro­gram­mat­ic adver­tis­ing mod­el towards a hybrid approach. Recog­nis­ing that it need­ed to gain more con­trol over its data and build a more trans­par­ent dig­i­tal sup­ply chain, the com­pa­ny brought its demand-side plat­form (DSP) and mea­sure­ment in house.

Today, its part­ners and agen­cies all work towards the same rel­e­vant KPIs and are account­able for suc­cess in a con­sis­tent way, all based on Duracell’s ambi­tions rather than their own.

The oth­er point on trans­paren­cy is around data and the grow­ing impor­tance it plays in shap­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Brands under­stand­ably rely on third-par­ty plat­forms like Google and Face­book to tar­get their audi­ence, but while this approach helps with reach it once again takes con­trol out of their hands. The data com­pa­nies hand over to these ecosys­tems is no longer theirs to con­trol any way or any­where they want.

After all, large adver­tis­ing plat­forms thrive by keep­ing their data opaque to the out­side world, which they can afford to do giv­en they con­trol such large vol­umes of information.

Here too, things are chang­ing. Adver­tis­ers under­stand that cus­tomer-cen­tric­i­ty and engage­ment are the keys to dri­ving sales and loy­al­ty, and that super­fi­cial met­rics will not com­mu­ni­cate the real val­ue of their invest­ment. That is why they are mov­ing away from the idea that an impres­sion means every­thing and rethink­ing their KPIs, instead mov­ing to met­rics that mat­ter and will move the nee­dle for their business.

They also under­stand that this requires them to devel­op accu­rate, in-depth cus­tomer pro­files of their own rather than rely­ing on the walled gar­dens of data held by exter­nal partners.

This abil­i­ty to devel­op and act on a sin­gle, uni­fied view of each cus­tomers has become the ulti­mate dif­fer­en­tia­tor. That’s why brands are now invest­ing in a sin­gle com­plete tech­nol­o­gy sys­tem that can pro­vide this uni­fied view, allow them to man­age the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence across plat­forms, and ulti­mate­ly enhance their dig­i­tal advertising.

Today’s Ad Cloud sys­tems are omnichan­nel, help­ing brands to man­age data from all the touch­points and plat­forms their cus­tomers use. at scale. Cru­cial­ly, they also offer sim­ple inte­gra­tions with a company’s audi­ence man­age­ment and ana­lyt­ics sys­tems, which means mar­keters can com­bine all these ele­ments togeth­er to uncov­er the insights they need quickly.

There is a pow­er shift hap­pen­ing in dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing, as brands look to regain con­trol over their data and their cus­tomer rela­tion­ships. There is still great val­ue in third-par­ty data and plat­forms to reach the right peo­ple, but mar­keters must take a stand and define what suc­cess looks like if they want to ensure their invest­ment is pay­ing div­i­dends and res­onat­ing with their audience.

At Adobe, we are com­mit­ted to help­ing shape a new dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing ecosys­tem, which is why trans­paren­cy lies at the heart of all our adver­tis­ing solu­tions. Click here to learn more about how Adobe Ad Cloud helps brands achieve this.

Click here to learn more about how Adobe Expe­ri­ence Cloud and if you’re attend­ing DMEXCO this week, come and speak to us at our stand (Hall 6 / A011 – B016) to hear how we’re fuelling dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion for some of the world’s most respect­ed brands.

Take part in our live 360 cus­tomer jour­ney at DMEXCO. You can reg­is­ter for a tour here

Topics: Digital Transformation, Adobe Ad Cloud, advertising, Customer Centricity, customer experience, Digital Advertising, duracell, Omni Channel Marketing, transparency, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA