The advertising industry is fighting fires on multiple fronts as it attempts to deal with issues affecting consumer trust while neglecting the one issue over which it has complete control, according to Direct Line’s Mark Evans.

Writing in this month’s Admap, the marketing director of the insurance brand notes that clients and agencies are – rightly – seeking greater transparency and reassurance around brand safety, which has led to improved measurement and control of these specific issues.

“However, what is almost entirely missing from the debate currently is the issue of frequency,” he argues. (For more read, his article in this month’s Admap: The risks of over-exposure: how ad bombardment promotes consumer mistrust.)

“It has been overshadowed by louder conversations and yet over-serving of advertising, or ‘bombardment’ to give it a catchy title, is one of the key drivers of mistrust and also creates significant wastage of spend,” he says – resulting in a lose-lose scenario.

For consumers, one of the most annoying aspects of this is retargeting, as they are followed around the internet by an item that they have already bought.

“It’s the repetition that niggles people, but to add injury to insult that extra unwarranted frequency also incurs cost,” Evans points out.

Nor is this issue restricted to digital media channels. “Any media channel will produce a normal distribution of opportunities to see or hear, and with traditional media increasingly moving towards programmatic retargeted buying, the issue is only likely to get worse.”

Repetition may drive recall, but this is difficult to optimise against campaign goals across a messy cross-platform media landscape, says Evans, and clients end up paying for inventory which is not delivering results and is potentially even counter-productive.

“If we could isolate this ‘wastage cost’ it would be transformative from an economic perspective but also would also help to lance the trust boil,” he maintains.

He proposes campaigns have cross-platform frequency caps: if frequency is exceeded, the campaign wouldn’t be judged as a success and the wasted spend would be transparent.

Sourced from Admap