Demystifying Advertising in the Year of Transparency

Photo by Rishi Deep on Unsplash

Demystifying Advertising in the Year of Transparency

As digital advertising takes center stage, marketers are looking at ways to gain greater control and management over data, targeting, performance and ad spend, all the while public scrutiny is forcing greater transparency. 

This is an important moment in digital advertising where trust is wavering, fraud continues to be out of control, and the industry continues to be incredibly fragmented and siloed. Marketers are demanding more transparency and measurement capabilities across all platforms to better understand who is seeing their content and ads and understand the true efficacy of their campaigns. And the providers are responding in various ways: 

  • Apple launched a Safari feature called Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution, which aims to stop ads from tracking users across the web. The company also announced the next iteration of its Intelligent Tracking Prevention program (ITP 2.2) which restricts the ability of ad tech companies to track people around the web. 
  • Facebook has launched the Social Science One partnership, which is one of several major initiatives the company has announced in the wake of election interference, platform manipulation, and data breaches over the past two and a half years.
  • LinkedIn is making advertising more transparent on LinkedIn for its members with the launch of Ads Tab.
  • Google plans new browser tools to limit how users’ web activity is tracked by advertising companies to give them greater insight into why certain ads are shown.
  • Twitter delivers its biannual Twitter Transparency Report which highlights trends in legal requests, intellectual property-related requests, Twitter Rules enforcement, platform manipulation, and email privacy best practices. The report also provides insight into whether or not the social giant takes  action on these requests

For marketers and agencies, verifiable transparency has become a key requirement for doing business. Marketers are also ready for a world where campaigns across Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other major platforms could somehow be linked to provide a full view of the customer journey without impacting consumer privacy. Until that is a reality,  Adswerve’s Matt Fiskness, suggests that marketers ask for the following questions to gain greater visibility into their campaigns:

  1. Understand if your media buy is truly effective – discover the reports, audience details and cross-channel performance metrics
  2. Identify where your money is going – use an ad transparency calculator (IAB) to calculate all costs involved – ad tax, agency fees and more
  3. Know how your brand is being kept safe – understand where your ads are running, where they’re not, and how to make sure you’re being compliant
    • What is the blacklist and whitelist? Every agency should have these; one based on site content and one on historical performance
    • Understand how “sensitive categories” are being blocked by your campaign and setting up filters
    • Set up contextual keyword targeting, so you don’t show up next to certain keywords that don’t align well with your brand (popular tool: Grapeshot)
    • Ask for the site report to understand which sites your ads are running on and where the majority of impressions are being served
    • Know if authorized buyers are set up to only target sites that use ads.txt (certifies that you are at least landing on a true publisher’s certified domain)
  4. What is being done to future-proof and own first-party audiences?
    • Ask for visibility into trafficking details
    • Understand the true business uplift and incremental testing
    • Gain access to a detailed breakout of campaign costs 
    • Understand who is assigned to the account management 
    • Have proof of contextual and publisher integrity 
    • Understand first-party and future-proofing strategies
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