[Forecasting 2017]: The Year of Media Quality

December 20th, 2016 | Joan Brehl, Vice President and General Manager, AAM

ACA Forecasting 2017 - Joan Brehl

As the industry prepares to turn the page on another year marked by massive changes, ACA is asking the experts to predict the trends they think will disrupt 2017. Previous articles have come from Stephan Argent of Argedia Group, with his forecast for agency search management, 361 Degrees partner Veronica Holmes, identifying top digital trends for next year and Brent Barootes, CEO, Partnership Group, providing his forecast for the Sponsorship Landscape. Joan Brehl, VP and GM, AAM Canada, wraps up the series with a prediction that media quality will take centre stage in 2017.

At the beginning of 2016, we were looking forward to a year of media transparency. Throughout the year, the overall lack of transparency became clear. From inaccurate media measurement to unscrupulous agency practices to the universal impact of corruption in digital media, marketers uncovered many reasons to be concerned about the value of their media investments.

Now as we look forward to 2017, I believe the market will unite around a more tangible way to achieve transparency: by focusing on the best practices that ensure media quality. Here are a few predictions for how marketers will start to define quality in the New Year.

Marketers will consider benchmarks other than the quantities of media metrics.

If your trust in media metrics was shaken this year, you weren’t alone. In September, Facebook admitted that it had inaccurately measured and reported its video ads, which caused marketers to rethink the level of confidence they put into first-party metrics.

Digital ad fraud and brand safety also continued to be at the forefront of marketer concerns. The increase in programmatic media buying led to major efficiencies and audience targeting, but also opened the risk of ads being shown next to fake news or other content that is not brand safe. According to a recent publisher survey from The 614 Group and Distil Networks, even if advertisers work with brand-safe media companies, they still have to consider more than just “quantity” when looking at web traffic. Of the publishers surveyed, 80% said they do not have insight into how their traffic is audited and 77 percent claimed to see nonhuman traffic on their sites.

In 2017 I foresee marketers asking more questions and taking a closer look at the business practices of their partners — such as whether they use first or third-party data, audited or unaudited metrics, or controls for brand safety — before relying on digital activity metrics.

The market will support premium publishers’ innovations across channels.

Peruse a few of Vividata’s readership studies, and you’ll see a recurring theme: Canadians love premium, fact-checked content across print and digital channels. According to Vividata’s Q2 2016 study, nine out of 10 Canadians read either magazines or newspapers. Eight out of 10 people read newspapers each week and more than half use digital devices to do so. And of the 7 out of 10 Canadians who read magazines, 42% use a digital device to consume magazine content.

These types of stats present an ideal climate for cross-media innovation for publishers and marketers in 2017. La Presse+ and Texture, for example, deliver premium newspaper and magazine content across platforms while tracking digital engagements in a way that is industry-approved and trusted by advertisers. In the next year, I believe we will see more marketers conduct business with trusted publishing brands like La Presse and Texture because their commitment to quality and credible journalism makes them popular with readers in both print and digital formats.

Brands will meticulously vet their practices and partners when it comes to email campaigns.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will be fully implemented on July 1, 2017, ending CASL’s grandfathered period for opt-in emails and making the Private Right to Action effective. Marketers, publishers and vendors alike are at risk of incurring fines from the CRTC of up to $10 million and being served repeated and costly class action lawsuits from the public if they are not compliant— even if the company is not based in Canada. This could become a major issue, but I believe we will see organizations step up to become educated on the implications of CASL. Over the next few months, we’re going to see marketers better understand what it means to be CASL compliant and demand that the companies they do business with meet those steps to protect their email investments and their relationships with consumers.

In 2017 marketers will take a stand on media quality and work with partners who do the right thing.

One constant truth across the media industry, regardless of channel, is that standardized information that meets industry best practices is critical to the industry’s long-term health and success. As the digital market continues to address some uncertainties and areas that lack transparency, I predict that marketers will identify and put their faith in publishers and vendors who are committed to following industry best practices. But they can’t do this alone. I believe that with help from established organizations such as the ACA, marketers will start working with partners who do the right thing and, in turn, connect with consumers across Canada and achieve real results.

Since 1917 the ACA has been helping marketers work with quality partners, and it will continue to do so in its centennial year. This is a monumental accomplishment that AAM is very proud to support. Congratulations to the ACA on 100 years of helping the industry drive marketing success. We look forward to the next 100 with you.

Joan Brehl
Joan Brehl is vice president and general manager for AAM’s Canadian services. As such, she develops new strategic business opportunities in print, digital, mobile and other media channels to promote AAM Canada and its clients. You can reach her at .