Walled Gardens are Blind Spots

March 23, 2017

By Bill Duggan

ANA members strongly support independent audits by the Media Rating Council of large digital media enterprises, also often referred to as "walled gardens."

Recently, Facebook (including Instagram) and YouTube announced that they would allow independent audits by the Media Rating Council. When we asked ANA members, "What's your view of these developments for the advertising industry?," we got a number of insightful comments, including:

  • "Walled gardens are blind spots."
  • "The more transparency we have from vendors on data and performance, the greater advertisers can trust the platform."
  • "So metrics can be validated by a third party and aren't only self-reported."
  • "Can compare within the wall to outside it."
  • "To develop holistic plans that cross multiple platforms, it's critical that we have some level of consistency in metrics."
  • "Transparency is key going forward. Brands will continue to demand it and not moving forward in this fashion will create issues for our industry as a whole."
  • "Finally we can understand what is actually being delivered in an acknowledged media verification process."
  • "Better transparency in this space as to how much of our advertising is really being served and seen by my consumers is important for the performance of our marketing spend."
  • "Audits and transparency are essential. These providers are staples of programs and can only continue as such if marketers can get to the data we need and be able to integrate all results on our end with accuracy."
  • "I do think it will allow to have more transparency and accountability for accurately measuring these platforms."
  • "We spend a lot on these platforms and want better verification of what we get for our investment."
  • "Marketers need access to their own data. One of the most important reasons for needing the data is to enable automated, personalized consumer journeys across all marketing touchpoints and channels."
  • "Third-party verification is necessary for transparency and trust."

The ANA applauds the recent announcements of Facebook and YouTube. Further, we encourage the other large digital enterprises — i.e., walled gardens — which have not yet undergone (or announced support for) independent audits by the Media Rating Council to embrace transparency and "break down their walled gardens" by allowing independent audits by the MRC.

View the full ANA white paper here.

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