Clients need better understanding of media buys, brands say at Advertising Week

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Tension remains over transparency concerns, but building trust requires sharing control.

In a digital world driven by data, transparency has been dominating conversations. At Advertising Week on Thursday afternoon, panelists discussed how trust has impacted the relationship between advertisers, publishers and the consumers.

"Transparency is a tactic that helps build trust. But trust is the reliability and the confidence while doing business," explained moderator Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, before asking Jess Barrett, global head of programmatic at the Financial Times, what FT has done to raise the bar on trust.

"When it comes to fraud, publishers are probably the only party that don’t directly or indirectly benefit from it. It’s important to talk about it. You need to take action and put your money where your mouth is," she said.

Kint then asked GroupM Managing Partner Sarah Warner whether brands have become less important to media buyers. "The brands are important but so are the publishers. We are trying to educate the clients on the landscape and what the best practices should be," she said. "Our brands need to be in the right place at the right time and with the right audience."

Despite recent tensions between some brands and their agencies, Barrett insisted FT still finds it useful to work with media agencies. "Unless you’re an American Express with a ton of first-party data, you really can’t bring that buy in-house. But brands need to be more in control. When brands don’t know about programmatic, it’s a problem. They need to have a good relationship with their media agencies and understand the programmatic space."

"Ultimately it’s all about the consumer," added David Kohl, president and CEO of TrustX. "You’re in the business of putting content in front of consumers, and we need to stop being in the business of monetizing the consumer. We must aim at creating an experience that’s respectful of the consumer’s time and engagement. It is our job to offer an experience that works for our consumers. Only then can we build that trust."