Full Transparency In Adland? Not Likely

In Adland transparency is a negotiation. The goal: achieve your objectives, whether you’re an advertiser, agency, media owner or ad tech platform without revealing too much to any given client or partner for competitive reasons.

That was the gist of a Monday morning session at Advertising Week about transparency in the programmatic era.

Kelly Roark, general manager for Mail Online’s programmatic business, said that transparency, at its heart is about making the process “simple, accessible and with accountability.” She noted that for publishers, it would help to know what advertisers are making what buys. Sometimes the buyer identity is withheld, presumably out of concern for showing too much to competitors. But knowing who the buyer is, she added, can help publishers develop better proposals based on knowledge of specific users on their sites and what the client is trying to achieve.

Chip Schenk, vp of programmatic sales and strategy, Meredith, asserted that transparency is something that clients “earn.” Top 100 clients, he said, deserve more transparency than others. He also said that for both buyers and sellers, transparency is about “driving goals without compromising the ‘secret sauce.’”



Matt Anderson, a managing director and senior partner at Mindshare, said that programmatic has evolved from the days where publishers were trying off load “remnant” inventory. That said, he added, sellers “need to deliver value.”

It’s not easy for either side to define exactly what “value” is, said Anderson. That’s why the agency has been deploying data scientists for the better part of two years, parsing through data, developing insights and “helping us understand this.”

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