Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Decluttering the digital media supply chain

By Doug Stevenson, CEO and co-founder of Vibrant Media

In a world where institutional mistrust is increasing rapidly, marketing is not safe from the heat. A recent study from ID Comms has found that 76% of advertisers feel there is a lack of transparency in the digital supply chain. This is a staggering number, but, when looking at the common progressions of today’s initial ad spend, things become clearer. A study from the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) found that 15% of programmatic advertising spend goes unaccounted for, which is referred to as “the unknown delta.”

Transparency has been a growing issue within advertising and marketing for years. However, the current system is changing, so the time is now to make things clearer. Step one in demystifying your digital supply chain is breaking down where your budget is currently going, and considering where to prioritize your focus for the future. 

The current system

In essence, a digital media supply chain is made up of a number of factors, all working in tandem to organize, create and distribute your marketing content online. There are many foundational tools between the brand, the publisher and the consumer. Publishers use platforms to sell their inventory and advertisers use platforms to buy it based on audience data. There are analytics players involved as well to continually optimize campaigns’ reach and verification companies attempting to thwart fraud.

Naturally, with so many different tools in play, the supply chain is bound to get complicated. Where are your funds going, and more importantly, what are you getting for the prices that have been set? This can be difficult to pinpoint, particularly as the programmatic pipes anchored in audience targeting adjust to the cookieless future. To prepare for clearer days tomorrow, it’s important to gain greater transparency on what is happening today.

What’s next?

When looking into new options, it’s important to have a good idea of what exactly you are looking to accomplish. Solidifying your strategy and having a good idea of a campaign’s logistics and long-term goals will help to define your scope and determine which elements of your supply chain to focus on.

From there, it’s a matter of coming up with the most cost-effective strategy to attain your goal. This is where new privacy-forward targeting solutions come in, and bring a new era of accountability for suppliers with them.

Finding your audience

While audience-based campaigns are still running now, use these campaigns to gain valuable insights that you can use for more privacy-first campaigns. By analyzing where your audience-based campaigns run now, you can further narrow down what may be the best domains, URLs or keywords to target in the future.

Finding post-bid reporting solutions that offer greater transparency are vital in your success. Gone are the days of “fire and forget” tactics— today’s campaigns should be carefully-researched and monitored before, through and beyond their implementation. With contextual analysis, marketers can analyze where their ads were displayed, and the types of publishers that had the best performance.

When combining this analysis with previous data gathered from third-party cookies and other means, such as first-party data, marketers can obtain even greater insight into which niches their brands most successfully inhabit, and can adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.

Precise brand safety

Many marketers also have an idea of where they do not want their brand to be associated— for example, on pages discussing a recent natural disaster. However, it’s important to think about where your brand has the opportunity to make an impact.

Even though our newscycle is often riddled with unsavory news, advertising dollars are critical to supporting quality journalism.

While many brands may want to avoid keywords that connote negative events, truly consider whether your brand might resonate well amongst the audience that cares about that news. For example, while some brands may need to avoid wildfire coverage, an air filter company may want to get their products to those who are dealing with smokey air conditions and reading about wildfires.

Going forward

Finding marketing solutions that add greater transparency to your digital supply chain will be the best solution for marketers going forward. If you expect transparency across your advertising supply chain, it will signify to your consumers that you value transparency, which will be important to privacy-conscious consumers.

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