6 Types of Transparency: what to consider when investing in media

Posted on Monday 13 March 2023 | Ekaterina Vagner - Senior Regional Marketing Manager EMEA at Verve Group

From price to data transparency, Ekaterina Vagner, Senior Regional Marketing Manager EMEA at Verve Group, explores what media buyers need to be considering to make transparency a top priority 

Transparency in general is such a broad term that everyone sees it through their own prism. The term’s ambiguity can be explained by the stakeholders in the supply chain: media buyers, publishers or consumers would prioritise different aspects of transparency. The truth is: none of the definitions are wrong. The right way to approach it is to look at all of the aspects, enabling open and clear communication on what information is shared among all stakeholders.  

Let’s approach it today from the media buyer's perspective and the visibility they have into the advertising ecosystem. Here is who we think about when speaking about media buyers: 

  • Advertisers and brands who want to publicise their goods or services in an effort to boost sales 
  • Agencies representing brands
  • DSPs (demand side platforms), DMPs (data management platforms) and ad servers used by advertisers, brands, and agencies to effectively accomplish their objectives 

So, why are we talking about transparency? And what’s the business case in it for media buyers? Let’s clarify all the aspects to set a media buyer up for success.  

Transparency helps media buyers make informed decisions about where to allocate their advertising budget and how to optimise their campaigns. Understanding the sources of inventory, the traits of the audience that will view the ads, and the fees and expenses related to the advertising campaign are all part of this. Additionally, the amount of control media purchasers have over the targeting, distribution, and ability to gauge the success of their campaigns are the keys to success.  

Here are six types of transparency that media buyers should think about when making any media investment: 

Supply chain transparency: Where will ads be placed and who will see them? Media buyers need to understand and track the various “middlemen” players and vendors involved in the delivery of an ad campaign. This includes understanding the relationship between the platform or publisher providing the advertising inventory, the ad exchange or supply-side platform (SSP) that facilitates the buying and selling of that inventory, and any other intermediaries involved in the process, such as data providers or DSPs.   

Price transparency: Access to the cost of advertising inventory across many platforms and channels is made possible through price transparency. The pricing summary for various ad formats, targeting options, and placements must be transparent and consistent for buyers. Having this in their hands enables them to compare costs across other providers. When the partner of the buyer gives real-time information on inventory availability and pricing - and the buyer monitors the effectiveness of his campaigns-  they may decide where to refocus their advertising expenditures and negotiate better deals with vendors. 

Data transparency: This addresses whether or not advertisers are able to understand how data is collected, used, and shared. The type of data that is used - first-party data (received directly from the media buyer's website or app) or third-party data (collected from other sources) - matters here. Media buyers should have visibility of the data privacy and security policies - as well as the vendors' compliance with any applicable data privacy laws and regulations - of the vendors involved in their campaigns. 

Quality transparency: This ensures that the advertisements delivered are of a high standard and are aligned with the values of the brands they represent. In other words, apart from being visible to a real human being, the ad should remain relevant to the user, in terms of both the content of the ad and the context in which it is being shown. Key factors to watch here are: viewability, quality of audience segments, brand safety, fraud protection and ad relevance. Many buyers implement viewability and fraud monitoring tools for this purpose, but what’s equally important is to partner with independent vendors that specialise in transparent measurement and provide an unbiased assessment of the quality of the media or audience.  

Tech transparency: Are buyers aware of the technology, algorithms and processes that drive ad targeting and delivery? This type of transparency can be achieved through open source products or by simply maintaining an open line of communication, regular audits and certifications. 

Only by having all these insights - collected in-house and received from the technology partners - can media buyers build a business case for transparency by demonstrating the benefits it can bring to their clients, specifically: 

  • Brand safety  

  • Increased trust  

  • Improved performance  

  • Reduced costs  

  • Increased ROI 

To make transparency a top priority, emphasise these benefits by offering precise, verifiable data to support your assertions and stay informed about the latest developments and best practices in the ad tech industry.  

Written by

Ekaterina Vagner

Senior Regional Marketing Manager EMEA at Verve Group


Related content

person talking

IAB UK introduces series exploring trust & effectiveness in digital 

Learn more

The personification of digital media

Learn more

The Building Blocks of Quality Media: steps to make the most of your next creative campaign

Learn more

Building trust: How marketers can thrive in a privacy-first world

Learn more

Rediscover the joy of digital advertising

Champion connections instead of clicks. Capture audiences' imaginations, not just their attention. Boldly move to your own beat instead of letting tech set the pace. It’s time to rediscover the joy of digital.