Advertisers and brands are concerned with advertising agencies and other actors about the lack of transparency in the digital advertising space. Digital advertising revenues for the first half of 2017 reached a record $40 billion dollars, compared to $31 billion the previous year, and were estimated to have reached $85 billion dollars by the end of the last year.

The fight for transparency intensified in 2017 after The Times of London published a report on how big brand ads appeared alongside racist videos on the huge YouTube video platform. Several brands temporarily stopped spending on YouTube advertising until YouTube assured them that it had taken steps to correct the problem.

Typically, the advertiser – the brand that seeks to connect with its audience – hires a digital advertising agency to manage its entire advertising campaign, with the advertiser having an established goal that it intends to achieve with the campaign. The advertiser pays the advertising agency an amount that would cover both the total cost of creating the advertising content and the cost of distributing the advertising content to the target audience/clients of the brand; these two types of costs are what digital media experts call joblessness and labor costs, respectively.

Once the advertising agency has developed the content for the desired channels, it buys advertising space – also called ad inventories – where the desired audiences would see the content. The advertising agency has two options to buy advertising space: buy directly from the publisher and buy programmatically through an ad exchange platform.

This process, which is often lengthy, encourages a lack of transparency (hidden fees, fraudulent activities, traffic, measurement and visibility), especially with the purchase of programmatic means. For the sake of clarity, transparency issues can be divided into two main parts: 1) Tariffs and charges from vendors and other actors along the supply chain. Read more from…

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