Digital advertising industry is one of the worlds with opaqueness right from the early days of ad networks. As ad networks are the intermediaries between the publishers and advertisers, they are in a position to be largely non-transparent resulting into extremely high margins and limited reporting to either the publisher or advertiser. However, ad networks facilitate the execution of large scale advertising and enabling advertisers to reach a large audience in different locations.
Since ad networks lacked transparency, everything changed with the advent of the programmatic advertising. There was a breakthrough in dividing the buy-side technology and sell-side technology. Although this division was assumed by many to be useful for transparency purposes, the word “transparency” and the way ad networks use it means visibility. However, which part of the advertising is made visible? The following are some forms of transparency advertisers can demand.
Advertisers can demand inventory availability from their ad networks. This problem was somehow solved by the introduction of the real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic advertising. However, although it is possible to view the exact domains where your ad is running, there are still many platforms that do not provide such information.
The second thing advertisers can demand is targeting data from third parties using platforms like the demand-side platform (DSP). The problem is that it does not provide lots of transparency. While there are other tools advertisers may use to access targeting data, it means an extra burden of cost and time than would rather be if marketers could provide the data.
The other bit of transparency which the advertisers deserve is where their ads are shown. Unfortunately, there are many tech companies which pretend to be DSPs but do not provide performance reporting to their clients. It is part of providing a detailed level of visibility. It should be made available in real-time if possible because there is no reason in 2016 why a company may not be able to provide the data. It is also important for advertisers to know their ad budget, especially what is paid to the vendors and the media. Whether the advertiser is dealing with DSP or ad network, it is a vital aspect of transparency.