Agencies Are Facing an Ad Transparency Crisis (and What To Do About It)

Sep 10, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Did you know hidden programmatic advertising fees called “tech taxes” account for more than half of all programmatic spend? According to Warc, over $30 billion of the $63.4 billion spent on programmatic advertising went to technology vendors in 2017.

The lack of transparency in digital advertising has caused major brands to create their own in-house ad agencies. In fact, an Association of National Advertisers report shows that a full 35% of brands have brought programmatic in-house largely thanks to transparency concerns.

On top of that, Facebook, Google, Amazon and others are now competing to be the ad delivery platforms of the future, cutting into traditional agency lines of business. According to The Atlantic, 90% of the growth in digital advertising went to Facebook and Google alone in 2017.

These challenges have a created crisis in the agency world

Traditional lucrative advertising platforms, like television, are on the decline thanks to changing media habits. Growth in digital ads is dominated by the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon. The digital ecosystem is chipping away profits by inserting unnecessary intermediaries into digital media placements. 

Bottom line: It’s harder than ever for agencies to guarantee ad transparency and prove results to new and existing clients. 

But there is one solution agencies use to give clients transparency into exactly how ads work, from purchase to placement. It’s called digital marketing intelligence, and it’s quickly becoming a game-changer for agencies that want to grow

What is Digital Marketing Intelligence?

Digital marketing intelligence provides data on how brands advertise across channels. It supplies agencies with insight into: 

  • How much brands spend by channel (desktop, mobile, social, video, native).
  • How much brands spend by website and device.
  • Where and how brands are allocating their ad dollars.
  • What creatives brands are running across channels, sites, and devices.
  • How effective a brand’s ads are at generating impressions.
  • How brands stack up against each other.

This data enables agencies to compare the performance of brands (including direct competitors), sites and channels. This actionable data gives agencies the strategic insight to grow their services and hit client goals.

How Can Digital Marketing Intelligence Help Solve the Transparency Crisis?

Lack of digital ad transparency has caused a lot of expensive trouble for brands and agencies when they can’t see where ads are appearing, how they got there and how much money it cost to get there. 

But with the right digital marketing intelligence solution, agencies are able to provide clients with full visibility into the entire ad journey. 

So, how exactly can digital marketing intelligence help solve the transparency crisis?

Easy. With the right platform, agencies are able to improve transparency with real-time, accurate data on:

  • How much money clients and other brands spend on digital advertising across desktop, mobile and video.
  • Which sites ad dollars are spent on and who receives it (ad networks, DSPs, etc.).
  • An ad’s full journey—from publisher to advertiser— including programmatic channels.
  • Efficient purchase channels, allowing you to dodge costly ad fraud.

This vast amount of data helps clear up the murky state of digital advertising. With this transparency agencies can resolve and prevent issues with ads appearing in problematic places online, while also providing valuable intelligence on reliable, ad-serving networks.

Try a Best-in-Class Digital Marketing Intelligence Solution for Yourself 

Not all ad intelligence platforms include features that provide the amount of tools and data needed to solve the transparency crisis. You need a solution that shows you the exact parties involved in every ad execution to avoid any serious transparency issues. 

For a best-of-breed digital marketing intelligence solution that allows your agency to provide transparency to clients, sign up for a free Pathmatics demo today.


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Jordan Kramer

Written by Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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