Transparency in Digital Advertising – Where Art Thou?

In the last week or so, there were two news items that caught my eye, both related to digital advertising.

1. Facebook overestimated video metrics for two years, report says

Big ad buyers and marketers are upset with Facebook Inc. after learning the tech giant vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years, according to people familiar with the situation.

If you had allocated media spends to video ads on Facebook, chances are that you overestimated the impact those ads had and may have even put in more money on that basis.

2. Dentsu Apologizes After Overcharging Companies for Internet Ads

Advertising giant Dentsu Inc. on Friday said it overcharged at least 111 companies for internet ads. The company said it was still investigating the scale of the improper billing but has so far uncovered 633 cases of potential overcharging valued at a total of ¥230 million ($2.3 million). In some cases, promised ads never appeared online, it said.

One of the benefits of digital advertising is the ability to accurately track your return on investment (ROI) compared to offline channels which may not be that accurate. However, the optimisation process can be quite frustrating when the metrics you are looking at are inaccurate to start with.  Transparency in media spends is essential to understand what is working and what’s not and will allow advertisers to evaluate their campaigns better.

The recent cases may not be a bolt from the blue for the industry experts but hopefully, this will stir the transparency debate in a meaningful way and lead to more accountability.

This article also appeared here