New research by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has found that global brands have either made major changes or are planning to, to their media governance practices across a wide range of areas.
In the last 12 months, 35 multinational companies with a total annual marketing spend of more than $30 billion globally report wide-ranging actions as they seek to respond to concerns that too many companies have lost control of their media activity.
The study suggests the world’s biggest brand owners are responding to the recent Media Transparency report by WFA member, the USA’s Association of National Advertisers, by taking initiatives designed to take greater control of their media spend and relationships with agency suppliers.
More active management of media issues now involves brand safety, viewability and ad fraud as well as the transparency issues raised by the ANA’s reports from K2 and Ebiquity.
Transparency remained the No 1 priority for 47 percent of those questioned and although 51 percent say this is rising up the priority list, 14 percent feel this it is de-escalating, suggesting that some are seeing progress.
On transparency, 65 percent have improved their internal capabilities via moves such as hiring a head of programmatic. More than 70 percent have amended their media agency contracts and 58 percent have included terms that define agency status as agent or principle at law.
As the No. 2 priority, this issue is moving up the agenda fast, with 70 percent saying it has escalated as an issue in the last 12 months.
74 percent have suspended investment in ad networks where they felt there was an unnecessary risk to their brands and a further 14 percent plan to do so. 89 percent currently limit or plan to limit investment in ad networks that do not allow use of third-party verification.
Many are also taking actions as recommended in WFA’s Ad Fraud compendium. 55 percent are now limiting run of exchange buys; 43 percent are shifting away from using CPM as their key metric in favor of business outcomes; and 40 percent are developing in-house resource to help tackle ad fraud.
63 percent are now only investing in viewable impressions that meet industry standards and 37 percent have devised their own viewability criteria.
“The WFA has long championed the need for clear and transparent relationships between brands and their agency partners. Last year’s ANA report was a catalyst for a new wave of action by brands not just in the US but around the world, addressing many of the media issues that our members have highlighted including brand safety and ad fraud. These actions, coupled with an increasing number of WFA members sharing that they have witnessed improved transparency, are positive signs that we can create an improved media landscape for brands, agency partners and media owners,” says Robert Dreblow, head of marketing services at the WFA, in a press statement.
The survey took place in May 2017 and 73 percent of respondents had global roles, with the balance in regional roles covering Europe, North America and APAC.