Ad fraud and non-human traffic remain the biggest concern for Australian digital marketers and agencies, according to the latest Media Trust Study.
Now in its fourth year, the Audited Media Association of Australia’s (AMAA’s) Media Trust Study reviews the findings from nearly 600 Australian top media agency and client-side marketing professionals, focusing on the levels of trust within digital channels and industry metrics.
Of respondents, 42 per cent were senior executives – including C-suite, general manager and managing director roles – working with digital marketing.
AMAA CEO Josanne Ryan said “A more trusted environment is better for marketers, agencies and consumers which is why accountability and transparency is vital to the media and ad trading ecosystem.
“While it’s great to see some year-on-year improvements, there is clearly more work that needs to be done.”
Why does media trust matter?
In the study, the AMAA says “Trust is the invisible thread of influence that sits within media buying decisions – every day we all make decisions on a level of trust.”
Of those surveyed in the study, 86 per cent said that trust translated into money – when there is trust there is more willingness to spend.
Where areas need the most improvement to build trust?
The biggest concern for both marketers (67 per cent) and agencies (72 per cent) was ad fraud and non-human traffic.
The study also found that social media is the channel that rates as most in need of oversight to build trust, which the AMAA said is unsurprising given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) investigation into the dominance of Facebook and Google in Australia.
Programmatic digital ad trading was second in line as a concern, but there is a shift with both marketers and agencies gaining some trust in the channel. The AMAA found that, interestingly, agencies are twice as likely as marketers to indicate that programmatic needs more oversight to ensure best practice.
Trust in native advertising, email direct marketing (EDM) and online display advertising has improved over the last two years. Although, marketers were more likely to trust native advertising and be wary of EDM, whereas agencies trust EDMs over native advertising.
Trust in metric providers has improved
With regard to the industry audience metric providers, overall trust has risen slightly across all providers when compared to 2016, with Nielsen and OzTAM as the most trusted.
The top three factors that are viewed as building trust in audience metrics include transparency regarding data collection; a layer of independent verification and audit; and, a robust and comprehensive methodology.
Industry compliance to increase media trust
AMAA said that the study shows that the industry sees the need for compliance with media industry codes as increasingly important. This is seen more so with marketers, tripling in the last four years from 17 per cent to 46 per cent of respondents agreeing that compliance to media industry codes is a top issue to tackle in the next 12 months.
Regarding the most important aspects of self-regulation, the support for compliance to be checked by an independent third party was also strong with 50 per cent of senior/mid marketers and 56 per cent of senior/mid agency execs desiring this.
“It begs the question as to why, when we know that compliance layers work to build trust and reduce risk, we shy away from incorporating this into the industry frameworks,” Ryan questioned.
Google, Facebook and the ACCC
Respondents were asked about the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry Preliminary Report and agreed with the need for greater oversight of Google and Facebook, privacy law changes and more transparency in how digital ads are traded.
The AMAA Media Trust Report can be accessed here.