Transparency is invaluable across the entire programmatic value chain. AdTechs and Martechs need to be able to attribute ad spend, or match ad impressions end-to-end. This is so that they can then carry out accurate financial audits, cost-benefit analyses and establish their marketing strategy’s ROI. Stakeholders, investors, and partners expect transparency and honesty regarding ROI and proper allocation of marketing resource.

However, a recent transparency study highlighted a lack of data standardisation across the programmatic supply chain. This can frustrate a business’ attempts to be transparent. How robust can financial audits be unless digital marketers and Adtechs work in transparent, data-driven ways, with full oversight over costs along their programmatic supply chains?

The study also revealed that of all disclosed media buys, only 12% of ad impressions could be matched end-to-end. Additionally, only 15% of ad spend was unattributable. The study also identified significant permission issues between DSPs and SSPs.

The Cross Industry Programmatic Taskforce’s Toolkit

Following the publication of ISBA’s Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study, a number of leading advertisers, publishers, Adtech vendors and agencies collaborated to create a set of outputs. These outputs aim to remedy the current issues in the programmatic supply chain. This Cross Industry Programmatic Taskforce released a financial audit toolkit designed to reduce wasteful online ad spend. The toolkit also suggests ways of making programmatic supply chain costs more transparent.

Initially, the taskforce has focused on data accessibility, standardisation and data consistency. The taskforce proposed three documents to deliver against their goals:

  • The Audit Permission Letter (APL). The APL will enable DSPs and SSPs to share the required data needed for comprehensive financial audits;
  • The Data Fields List (DFL). DFL identifies compulsory and highly recommended data fields that auditors rely on to match impressions between publishers and advertisers;
  • The Principles clarify the intended use and purpose of these documents. This document also provides suggestions relating to which professionals should take on which responsibilities to uphold these best practices. 

Reviews of the Toolkit

Adtech industry leaders – including AdTonosVP of Strategic Partnerships, Paul Cranwell – have reviewed the toolkit. These leaders feel that the toolkit can increase confidence in the open web. They also feel that it establishes a baseline for best practice in programmatic marketing. 

“The toolkit is good news and AdTonos welcomes this initiative. It is vital that clear parameters are communicated across the industry, so that everyone in the supply chain is clear about the requirements and expectations. Honesty and transparency is the key to the long-term growth and health of programmatic. As audio advertising becomes more prevalent in other channels such as gaming, these measures will further contribute to audio’s credibility as a safe and trustworthy medium.” – VP of Strategic Partnerships, Paul Cranwell, AdTonos

Lack of transparency can impact us all. It is imperative that leaders in Adtech and Martech act in compliance with the toolkit. Learn more about best practices for financial auditing by reading the Taskforce’s toolkit here.