Point 2: Were advertisers aware of the problem and what were their reactions?
To begin with, some reactions did make an impact, especially that of P&G in 2017, which involved reducing the online advertising investments of the company by $140 million. It is quite normal that the impact was big, and P&G has always been the spearheads of advertising and the first to bring in trends. Worse still for the marketing community, the reports revealed that the impact of this measure had been nil.
But it does not take into consideration Byron Sharp’s studies on advertisingthat show that the impact of a budget-cut on advertising is measured only 3 years after the interruption of the investment, regardless of the brand’s size.
On the other hand, how significant are 140 million dollars for P&G in terms of advertising budget? 2% of the total, which is not negligible. But, the decline in the total advertising budget of the company between 2013 – the most important year of the period studied – and last year is $1.070 billion or 13% of this peak spending. This could mean a disengagement from advertising by P&G or it could mean that its revenues are dwindling down too.
And bingo! When we look at the sales of the American giant, we find a curve correlated with the curve of advertising budgets. This probably allows – without going further or studying the cause-and-effect relationships beyond these correlations – to introduce a little nuance in the evaluation of results. It’s impossible to compare everything without spending hours, but a brief look at Nestlé’s 2015-2016 spending on advertising shows a rise from $ 4.2 billion to $ 9.2 billion (worldwide).
Can ethics mend advertising?
In conclusion of this non-comprehensive study, we can now get back to IOTEC’s analysis and check that ethical advertising matches a real demand. Advertising is not that monster to shoot down that it is portrayed so often, but it is certainly a sick beast to whom a little ethics would do good.
IOTEC’s advice to the Adtech sector
Stop the psychological targeting
Targeted advertising should always be broad and never on a personal level unless explicit consent is obtained. There are quite a few targeting tactics that exist, but one of the most ill-suited ones is psychological targeting. By tracking their results and looking at the audiences on a mass scale, it is possible to determine how to customize the content for each consumer.
Brands need to think about consumers by choosing ethical strategies and focusing on delivering the best customer experience. What about a shop that would follow a visitor for 30 days after he has visited it, trying to sell him the product? The key is to create a good customer experience, a positive feeling and trust in your brand.
Avoid intrusive pop-ups
Intrusive pop-ups should not be allowed under any circumstances; some web publishers use and abuse the stuff. According to Digiday, 88% of Brits find online ads disruptive, as compared to 73% of French and 82% of Americans.
Bad practices must be denounced to ensure real change and restore consumer confidence.
Most consumers do not understand how they are targeted, so they turn more and more to ad blockers to prevent any kind of advertising. The recent scandal around the personal data of consumers in which Facebook was involved with Cambridge Analytica, lays the ground for the contempt shown by the consumers, who are beginning to discover the lack of transparency they have about how their data is used.
No wonder the trust in advertising has never been so low, but it’s high time we do something to change this perception.
Check the display of ads
Real-time solutions exist, whereby an ad is placed next to relevant and pertinent content (content whose quality is considered acceptable by the brand). Most ad buying platforms come with their own ad blocking filters to filter out unsuitable content, with some even adding third-party filters to that.
Brands can indicate the list of sites to which they are associated and also demand transparency from their partners on how they use the data.
In future, blockchain could be a powerful solution to offer brands full transparency on their programmatic media buying transactions. But for now, this technology is simply not ready. Today, there are scalable solutions ready to be marketed. All that brands need is the access to data surrounding their media purchases and a location to store them. All key players in the sector exploit the data they are able to retrieve from their suppliers. If suppliers are reliable, they should be able to provide it to them.