- Sixty percent of surveyed ad agencies are taking steps to improve media transparency, but 25% still aren't sure if they are addressing the issue, according to a new study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reported on by The Drum.
- That discrepancy might stem from a "fundamental disconnect" between brands and agencies that came to light in a separate report published by the ANA and K2 Intelligence last year, The Drum speculated. The earlier report found agencies used vaguely-worded contracts to retain incentives, which led the ANA to release a generic contract focused on transparency that advertisers could use for agency deals.
- The more recent study found that the main contractual revision in brand/agency partnerships was the addition of audits, with around 20% of respondents saying they've conducted audits since. Increased transparency around programmatic buying practices was the third most cited change, The Drum said.
The ANA declared 'transparency' the marketing word of the year in 2016, with CEO Bob Liodice adding that the choice wasn't surprising following the bombshell report his trade group published with K2 Intelligence last summer. Their combined investigation found agencies were receiving undisclosed media rebates, among other non-transparent practices, leading to a fresh wave of scrutiny from clients that manifested in the form of audits and major brands putting their agencies under review.
The update from the ANA signals that many in the industry are now working more diligently to ensure their business relationships are clearly defined, though gaps remain in tackling media transparency. Traditional agencies are continuing to experience churn in 2017 as competition grows from global consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte and sustained political and economic uncertainty does little to aid growth.
Outside of agency-client relationships, achieving greater media transparency — especially in regards to digital marketing — has only become a more pressing issue this year. Calls to clean up the supply chain on the part of all players in the ecosystem have been spurred by thought leaders like P&G's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard and remain top of the conversation as issues like ad fraud grow.