A Note from DataXu’s CEO on Transparency


K2’s Independent Study of Media Transparency in the U.S. Advertising Industry, prepared for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), was released today, June 7, 2016.

Although the complete report is 62 pages long, the results summarized in the report’s conclusion are straightforward and concise: non-transparent business practices were found to be pervasive in the U.S. media-buying marketplace.

At DataXu, trust is one of our fundamental core values. We consider ourselves a true partner to both agencies and advertisers alike. DataXu is a pure buy-side player, meaning that we do not own any media of our own, and do not participate in any rebates or media incentive programs.

I anticipate a slew of questions and debates emerging following the release of K2’s report:

  • Did advertisers squeeze agency fees to the point where fees alone failed to cover operating costs (much less produce an actual profit) for agencies?
  • Should advertisers increase auditing in the future to look for suspect partner transactions and practices?
  • How might neutral technology platforms—independent of the media buyer and seller—help ensure transparency?

Within today’s increasingly complex media landscape, I believe that the third question might be the most pressing. Agencies have a right to earn fair compensation, but the ANA report underscores the fact that it’s increasingly untenable for an advertiser to rely on an agency—or media company for that matter—to play the role of independent referee and player when it comes to advertisers’ spend.

In software, we call this “separation of concerns,” and it’s a tenet of quality system architecture. It’s time for the media industry to also embrace this sound principle in a complex, tech-first world.

Although this white paper does not answer all topics raised within the K2 report, it outlines DataXu’s approach to transparency and underscores our commitment to fair and honest interactions with all of our customers and partners. This white paper covers four key areas of transparency that advertisers and agencies alike should consider:

  1. Price Transparency
  2. Media Transparency
  3. Tactic Transparency
  4. Management Transparency

Should you have specific questions regarding DataXu’s approach to transparency, feel free to email us at marketing@dataxu.com.

Mike Baker
DataXu Co-Founder, President, & CEO


Download our DataXu white paper addressing Transparency and the K2 ANA Report by clicking here.