It’s been eight months since the world’s biggest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, put advertisers, media and technology companies on notice to clean up the $US200 billion ($253 billion) digital media supply chain.
Some forecasts, including the World Federation of Advertisers, estimated online advertising fraud could hit $US50 billion by 2025 and become the biggest revenue source for the organised crime market in the next decade, behind cocaine and opiates.
In setting an end of year deadline for a digital clean-up, P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard, backed by the powerful US Association of National Advertisers (ANA), described the state of digital media as “murky at best, fraudulent at worst”.
Since Pritchard’s mandate in January, digital media have certainly come under fire with misreporting errors at Facebook, brand safety concerns at YouTube and the ridiculous complexity of different viewability standards in constant debate.
These remain major flash points that we must address.
But tellingly, P&G in its latest earnings announcement revealed it had cut $US140 million from its global digital advertising budget – and sales increased.
This gets to the heart of what many believe digital transformation is supposed to deliver: business growth.
It looks increasingly like the entire digital media supply chain needs a Super Cop to sort out a very messy business.
In the US that role falls to the global media auditor and measurement standards setter, the Media Ratings Council (MRC), set up at the behest of the US Congress in the 1960s as an independent, non-profit standards body, across all media, not just digital.