- “Transparency” was chosen as the marketing word of the year for 2016 in an online survey of Association of National Advertisers members, as reported by the organization in a blog post.
- Transparency beat out “customer experience,” “content marketing,” “influencer” and “programmatic," pointing to the urgency surrounding the topic.
- “It’s no surprise that our members chose transparency as the Marketing Word of the Year. Our media transparency study was one of our most important initiatives and it sparked fundamental behavioral changes among marketers and in the industry, here and around the world,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice in a release.
Transparency, or a lack of it, was one of the biggest issues across the industry in 2016. Earlier this year, the ANA’s report on the lack of transparency in agency billing practices caught the attention of marketers, with a number of brands subsequently calling for audits of their agency partners. One of the more controversial findings of the ANA report was evidence of rampant rebates between agencies and publishers that didn’t include passing the savings on to advertisers.
Trust in the advertising ecosystem was further undermined when Facebook revealed it had been overstating video metrics for two years, the first of many such revelations from the social media giant over the past few months.
ANA members who voted for transparency as marketing word of the year cited the organization's report, stating it shed light on the “broken agency/client model” and it served as a “milestone” in changing client and agency partnerships in media deals, and that fraud and lack of transparency is “killing the digital ecosystem” for advertising.
This is the third year the ANA announced a marketing word of the year with previous winners including programmatic in 2014 and content marketing last year.