ICYMI: What Every Advertiser Should Know about Media Markets


By Tom Flanagan, Director of Strategy

I am a huge fan of the new whitepaper from the World Federation of Advertisers: “WFA guide to Programmatic Media: What Every Advertiser Should Know about Media Markets.” As a DataXu employee, one could argue that I should cheer for any publication that elevates the visibility of programmatic marketing. True enough – but this paper is exceptional. Here are three key reasons:

1)      It’s about money.

Digital media is plagued by black boxes, arbitrage, and obfuscation. Why? Because the principals don’t ask the right questions about their investments and demand verifiable and legally binding answers. This paper encourages advertisers to take back control of their investments, and it arms them with the questions to do so.

2)      It’s about control.

Each time an advertiser serves an ad to a consumer on a digital device, useful data is created. Who saw the ad? On which website? At what cost? How did he or she respond? This data set, aggregated across billions of consumer interactions, is a goldmine for marketers. Unfortunately, many brands have some or all of that data withheld by non-transparent media partners. This paper poses an important question: if you’re not controlling your brand’s data, then who is? Your non-transparent media vendor (who might use it to optimize your competitor’s next campaign)? Yikes.

3)      It wasn’t written by me (or someone like me).

The thought leadership and dialogue in our industry is too heavily dominated by vendors. This is especially true in the topic of transparency: the issue boils down to a lack of knowledge among advertisers, yet most advertisers likely miss the message in the noise of vendor self-service. (Don’t get me wrong, vendors have valuable ideas on the topic of transparency.) But this paper is powerful because it was created for advertisers by advertisers. Seeing leaders at blue chip brands champion the benefits of adopting transparent technology platforms is a great sign for the future of our industry.

Hats are off to the WFA for a job well done. And best of luck to the hand-wavers and head-buriers – the clock is ticking.