Study reveals low trust in media agencies

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Almost a third of advertisers rate trust levels with media agencies as low or very low in the wake of the rebate scandal that broke ast year

A survey from ID Comms found that 31% of clients described trust between media agencies and advertisers as low or very low, while only 10% rated it as high or very high.

Agencies were more optimistic, with 19% of those surveyed rating trust between themselves and clients as high or very high. Twenty percent said it was low or very low.

"The lack of transparency into holding company operations and whether agencies are acting as true agents is at the heart of why I see trust in decline," one marketer said. "In addition, programmatic buying and the inherent arbitrage and inability to ‘follow the money’ create distrust."

The results were more muddled when projecting the future: Thirty-nine percent of agencies bet relations would get worse, while 38% predicted they would get better.

Only 31% of clients thought trust would decline, compared with 38% who expected it to improve.

In late 2015, a rebate scandal led the Association of National Advertisers to hire corporate investigators to find out if agencies were receiving undisclosed kickbacks from media owners when buying ad space.

More than 70% of advertisers and agencies said that managing rebates was the key to establishing trust between agencies and clients.

ID Comms surveyed 140 senior executives from media agencies — representing all six major holding companies — and advertisers from around the world.

This article first appeared on


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