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[Forecasting 2016] The Year Of Transparency
December 22nd, 2015

The Year Of Transparency

With 2015 coming to a close, ACA is asking the experts to predict the trends they think will shape the industry in 2016. So far, Stephan Argent has written about Agency Search Management, Grant Le Riche looked at media and Brent Barootes has given his outlook for the sponsorship space. Next up is Joan Brehl, General Manager and Vice President, AAM Canada.

As an industry, we learned a lot in 2015. We learned that not all ads are viewable, not all traffic is human and that ad fraud is a legitimate concern that’s costing the ecosystem billions of dollars each year. The price tag and the issues continue to grow.

But there’s a silver lining in what appears to be an uncertain cross-media environment. Over the last year we’ve started to see the industry come together and work to overcome these challenges. In 2016, I believe some of this hard work will come to fruition and much of the change is going to be driven by marketers. Here are a few predictions for the Canadian media market in the new year.

The Canadian market will rally around solutions that address ad fraud, viewability, piracy and ad blocking.

Ad fraud and viewability are popular buzzwords right now, and for good reason. According to a recent study by Ernst and Young and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad fraud and ad piracy costs the U.S. media industry $8.2 billion annually. The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) – a nonprofit organization formed by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), 4A’s and IAB in the U.S. – has been working over the last year to address piracy and fraud through programs like its registration system and Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG). Because internet advertising is global and solutions have implications across borders, I foresee the TAG registry (which aims to weed bad actors out of the ecosystem) and IQG (a set of disclosures that helps build a framework for brand safety) coming to Canada. As for viewability, I believe that more publishers will follow in the footsteps of Condé Nast and implement a viewability rate card, a development that was spurred on by the latest release of viewable impression standards from the Media Rating Council (MRC).

Newspaper and magazine audience metrics and measurements will continue to evolve and improve.

This year we saw cross-platform measurement really come to the forefront with the launch of Vividata, a new, single-source for newspaper and magazine audience measurement. Vividata provides publishers with a greater opportunity to tell their full brand stories and, in turn, provide media buyers and decision makers with more holistic data. In the next, year we will see organizations like AAM and Vividata working together to satisfy advertiser expectations for a greater brand view of both print and digital metrics in a timelier basis and in one trusted place.

aam-bubble2-enAdvertisers will seek insights and solutions to better understand and address the effects of ad blocking on media investments.

Ad blocking has been the topic du jour for the last half of 2015. A recent study from Adobe and PageFair showed that over the last year the number of people using ad blocking software grew 41 percent globally and about 20 percent in Canada. Both these stats have been linked to comScore’s latest finding that shows desktop display ads served in Canada are down 30 percent. The Adobe/PageFair study also estimated that the global impact of ad blocking in 2016 will be around $41.4 billion. For publishers, this is a major concern that has led many to try to build strategies that circumvent ad blockers. While marketers have not yet fully realized the effects of ad blocking, they will begin to see its impact and will work to address the decreased number of opportunities for their ads to be seen. In response, I think we’ll see both publishers and marketers shift to focus more on improving the user experience across devices and content types.

Led by the ACA, marketers will loudly say they’re “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” when it comes to the quality and trust issues inherent in today’s digital advertising supply chain.

Joan Brehl

Joan Brehl

“Mad as hell” was the phrase used to describe the state of advertiser trust when ad fraud became a hot button issue more than a year ago. Now, with the onslaught of new obstacles like ad blocking and piracy, uncertainty is at an all-time high in the media industry. I believe that in 2016 the ACA and ANA will demand more media accountability. As a result, marketers will lean on organizations like the IAB, TAG, MRC and third-party auditors like AAM to advocate for a more accountable digital advertising landscape and require vendors and publishers to undergo measurement certifications to earn their business.

In short, I believe that this is the year that the industry works together to rebuild trust and transparency into its media transactions – and I hope you do too.

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