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WFA calls for industry collaboration

News, 24 December 2015

BRUSSELS: The World Federation of Advertisers has highlighted ad blocking, ad fraud and viewability among the key trends to watch in 2016 and said that the industry will have to work together if it is to successfully address these issues.

On the subject of ad blocking, it said the industry had been slow to react, but hoped a co-ordinated response would address consumer concerns over the coming year. But, it added, "it'll take a mighty and concerted effort by the whole of the industry to highlight the consequences of ad blockers for the creation of content and the benefits that advertising can bring to people's lives".

Ad fraud is widespread – two thirds of respondents to a WFA survey reported direct experience of impression fraud and 60% had experienced ad fraud bots – and the WFA implicated the structure and systems in the digital media ecosystem. "Cross-industry collaboration is required to reduce the problem," it said.

The issue of viewability remains some way from being satisfactorily resolved. Advertisers are unhappy with the lack of clarity in existing definitions and with paying premium rates for impressions that are only 70% viewable.

The WFA expected that more brands would start to allocate their budgets only with media owners who are able to promise the presence of eyeballs for long enough to take in the brand message.

Other issues the organisation predicted would be high on the agenda of marketers in the year ahead included those within their remit such as in-housing and the role of procurement.

External factors will also have an impact, particularly the work of regulators around the world in the areas of food and drink marketing and, to a lesser extent, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

New privacy regulations will require attention. The WFA predicted that "brands will have to build positive conversations with people in order to secure sustainable data flows in a consumer-empowered future".

Finally the role of business in society will demand greater thought, as marketers will have to respond to specific questions about issues such climate change or unsustainable consumption patterns while also addressing a wider trust deficit in corporations generally.

Data sourced from WFA: additional content by Warc staff