Can we put a price on trust?

Josanne Ryan, CEO of the AMAA talks about their latest research recently released.

In our first Media Trust report last year, we investigated the industry’s view on whether or not trust was a fundamental factor in media trading. The answer was yes.

In this year’s report, The Trust Equation, we were keen to gain more insight in terms of the influence of trust in dollar terms and discover how much it affects media spend decisions.

We were also curious to gauge, in the wake of growing distrust in digital channels as indicated by Marc Pritchard’s now infamous IAB speech and Facebook’s increasingly tarnished report card, how various digital channels are stacking up in terms of trust.

What we found should come as little surprise to anyone that has been following the recent industry transparency conversation.

While the top four trust issues concerning the industry were the same year-on-year (programmatic trading, social media, online video/streaming and mobile), the order shifted significantly with ad fraud jumping up the priority list in 2017. Last year, it was interesting to us that ad fraud was not higher on the industry radar – it was the second lowest priority. In 2017, it has experienced the highest jump of any issue from 27% to 44%. The sharp increase in awareness shows it’s a growing issue that the industry needs to address.

Ad blocking rose by double percentage points, as did ‘proof of posting’, likely driven by the continued move towards programmatic ad trading.

The issue of brand safety nudged up but we believe a larger jump would be expected if the survey had been timed in the aftermath of this year’s YouTube boycott.

Trust = Money

Broadly, the 2017 survey tells us that 86% of marketers and media agencies are more willing to spend in channels where trust has been established. For the majority of the industry, both agency and client side, trust equals money. This is cemented by the statistic that 8 out of 10 will prioritise media channels that supply transparent, audited data. Advertising trading doesn’t run purely on money and analytics – it also runs on trust.

Trust is vital to the industry and it has real financial value.

The good news is that the survey showed unequivocally that the industry does value accreditation frameworks which provide governance and acknowledgement for doing the right thing. In fact, 92% agreed that industry codes and best practice can be pointless if no one is verifying that they are truly being adopted. So perhaps instead of viewing industry self-regulation frameworks in terms of ROI, a better question is – what the cost would be for not acting? Can we afford to let trust continue to erode?

It’s more about risk minimisation and assurance. It’s about protecting our business partnerships and also our industry.

Don’t think this is an issue we can choose to ignore. For agencies, there is much at stake. Already 70% of marketers in our sample and 60% of agencies agreed poor industry transparency will lead to more marketers taking their media buying in house.

As a self-regulated industry, we need to ensure that the parameters of ad trading are in place. Clients must have clarity on what that means and they need to be able to trust that best practices are implemented and upheld. At the AMAA we believe the future of our industry depends on it.

If you would like a presentation on the complete study email or Read the summary report here


Josanne Ryan is the CEO of the Audited Media Association of Australia

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