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Advertisers Need to Implement Campaign Setup Governance

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In a world where digital advertising is increasingly complex and fraught with challenges, the role of robust campaign governance has never been more critical. Recent well-publicized research from Adalytics brought to light glaring issues in digital ad placements, including significant budget waste on Google video partners and the inadvertent placement of adult ads on children's channels. The latest in this series exposes grave brand safety violations, where advertisements of globally renowned brands have been spotted on fraudulent sites and adjacent to disturbing content.

These reports aren't the first, and they won't be the last. Such lapses not only squander advertising budgets but also endanger the reputations of brands, posing a significant threat to the careers of media heads and CMOs. What's it going to take for advertisers to implement the campaign governance needed to truly protect their brands and media spend?

The latest industry revelations underscore the need for advertisers to take prompt and decisive action. A crucial initial step is to distance themselves from Google Search Partners to prevent their brands from being associated with inappropriate or deceitful content. But this action alone isn't sufficient. Myriad brand safety settings require vigilant oversight and governance. Advertisers must proactively manage their digital presence to maintain the integrity and safety of their brand image.

Think about it. Why are all the best tools being used by countless media buyers all backwards-facing? Forensic analysis is interesting and actionable toward the next campaign. But why not deploy tools that are forward-facing and strategic to make sure the campaign is right the first time? It's a heavy lift, but companies like Adfidence are finally taking this on. Major brands are deploying tools like those developed by Adfidence to set up campaign governance and establish the guardrails they need to ensure brand safety, minimize waste, and provide transparency at the onset of a campaign, not after the fact.

What's at Stake?

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) issued a report in June that estimated waste in programmatic advertising is a $20 billion problem for buyers. The daunting task of managing and scrutinizing campaign setups across numerous digital ads and diverse markets presents a significant challenge. The sheer scale and intricate nature of digital advertising campaigns make manual monitoring and governance an impractical, if not impossible, approach. This is where the need for an automated, technology-driven solution becomes evident.

Today's advertisers require a comprehensive, automated platform that enables advertisers to effectively manage and govern their campaign setups. Brand safety isn't enough. It's where too many solutions stop. A truly sustainable solution to the seemingly never-ending revelations of waste and malfeasance in the digital ad industry must ensure campaign setups are not only compliant with brand safety standards but also optimized for maximum effectiveness — including those running inside walled gardens.

Here's what the industry needs to be demanding of its campaign governance technology:

  • Media Productivity: A true governance solution should ensure that campaigns are configured to achieve the highest ROI. A single platform should be capable of checking audience targeting, creative quality, campaign KPIs, and optimization features, identifying opportunities for significant performance gains.
  • Naming Convention Compliance: Advertisers need to be able to efficiently ensure accuracy in naming conventions across all media platforms. They need tools that include daily compliance checks, notifications for non-compliant names, and easy-to-use tools for taxonomy updates.
  • Responsible Underwriting: Increasingly, advertisers must be able to ensure that their campaigns avoid underwriting harmful content like hate speech and disinformation, preferably by following standard guidelines like those recommended by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM).
  • Media Metrics: Advertisers need tools that combine campaign setup attributes with performance reports, allowing for a deeper analysis of campaign performance based on setup attributes like objectives, formats, placements, and device types.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Finally, advertisers require technology platforms that integrate with all major media platforms, providing a unified, actionable view of media governance across the entire digital landscape. This is an area where so many tools have fallen short to date.

Recurrent digital advertising failures, most recently spotlighted by the Adalytics reports, emphasize the pressing need for advertisers to adopt sophisticated campaign setup governance. Moving forward, the embrace of technologies that solve not only for brand safety but also for overall transparency, control and effectiveness will no longer be a choice but a necessity for advertisers who wish to safeguard their investments and uphold their brand integrity.


The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.



Tom Hespos is principal at Abydos Media.

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