A fresh start: Rethinking the advertising landscape

By Emily Kaufman, VP Business Development, Unruly

At the recent U7 summit in London, industry experts and world-renowned brands discussed the issues of complicated supply chains, self-policing and a lack of global guidelines on transparency.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom — many companies are working hard to clean up the ad landscape by bringing transparency and trust back to the industry. Initiatives like the U7, and trade bodies like the IAB and TAG, are transforming the dialogue.

So what would the advertising industry look like if it were launched from scratch tomorrow? If we could start afresh, which technologies, processes and standards would we put in place from the get-go to ensure the industry remained transparent and trustworthy — while being as efficient and effective as possible?

A global standard

Thinking along the lines of the IAB and TAG, we’d need an independent organization to create a global standard or a set of protocols that companies who participate in the exchange would need to adhere to.

At Unruly, we often speak about the idea of ID as a commodity rather than a USP. In our current ecosystem, only a few media giants own people-based identifiers, leaving smaller companies to struggle. In this new industry, ID would be available for all, giving the market a more level playing field and allowing companies to work across borders.

Working together

In order to succeed, it is necessary to put processes in place that encourage collaboration and unity. Rather than battling against each other, we should be looking at the overall picture and joining forces.

This is especially necessary for small independent companies — without teamwork, there’s no  chance of competing against the walled gardens.

Standardized measurements

With companies having different standards for metrics like viewability and CTRs, implementing consistent measurement is a must. We’d need to launch with a set of standards in place for measurement from an independent governing body, much like the IAB is working towards in our current industry.

In the new world, we wouldn’t focus so heavily on the numbers. Performance metrics only tell part of the story. With CTRs you’re chasing empty dollars, there are only so many people who are going to click and a click doesn’t always lead to a purchase.

Managed service vs. programmatic

In the future, it’s likely that all premium publishing will be plugged into programmatic supply in a way that renders all formats successful, but that presently isn’t the case. So if we were to launch again tomorrow with programmatic as it is today, we’d still need managed service until programmatic gets to the point where it can self-sufficiently operate.


Overseeing the data flow

Data is the buzzword of 2019 — and in this brand new advertising landscape,  an independent body would oversee the flow and exchange of big data sets.

There would be a lot more second party data marketplaces in the future, where two first parties share their data. For example, BA and Hertz are two companies that are non-competitive — one knows about fliers and one knows about car hirers — but by simply exchanging data, they can start to build a more complete picture of their shared consumer.

In this new industry, direct data alliances between brands, publishers and advertisers should be encouraged and the benefits conveyed to all. This would eliminate the worry of murky or fraudulent data, as it would be coming directly from the source, as opposed to a shady third party.

Thinking ahead

The industry we have today is great — but it’s nowhere near perfect. Imagining the possibilities afforded by a clean slate encouraged the evaluation of what needs to be changed.

Encouraging collaboration and the sharing of data, being more transparent with our practices, re-evaluating how we measure success and looking at how we can make ID fairer are great places to start. And if others in the industry also step back and imagine a fresh start, perhaps these changes can begin to take place.


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