NEW YORK: Transparency in the digital advertising industry will continue to be a major issue in 2018, but participants are optimistic that progress is being made and that blockchain technology may add a new element.

If 2017 was the year that advertisers, led by P&G’s Marc Pritchard, demanded more reliable digital metrics, then 2018, according to Dennis Buchheim, SVP & General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, “should yield truly measurable progress in tackling fraud and improving transparency and trust in the digital advertising supply chain”.

In a blog, he pointed to a range of factors to support his contention, including the adoption of ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers), the expected release of OpenRTB 3.0 and authenticated supply, increased adoption of TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) IDs across the industry, and ongoing work to promote sharing audience data composition and provenance.

Aron Schatz, Senior Product Manager, Viral Gains, also expected that supply chain transparency will be a “a topic of trending importance” to advertisers in the year ahead.

“Ads.txt fixes some of the concerns, but it doesn’t solve transparency in the supply chain as a whole,” he noted.

“If advertisers had more visibility into exactly where the supply chain starts, and the actual publications and placements of their ads, they could spend their advertising dollars wisely with minimal fraud,” Schatz argued.

Both he and Buchheim see blockchain as a technology that may offer up solutions, while Maor Sadra, managing director and CRO, AppLift, believes the hype surrounding the little-understood tech is real.

In Exchange Wire, Sadra considered XCHNG, a platform developed by mobile attribution and analytics company Kochava which leverages a blockchain standard for digital advertising to remove intermediaries and allow buyers and sellers to transact directly.

“XCHNG proposes building a utopia in which no single player can have all the power, and where ‘market’ dynamics change based on actual market dynamics, not based on a duopoly that mainly serves its own interests,” he explained.

As well as throwing down a challenge to Google and Facebook, “digitising the IO and using a decentralised network of verification will be a bad thing for many intermediaries,” he added.

“It is incredible how many ad tech companies are actually glorified scams. It is also incredible how many marketers realise this but ignore it because of personal interests.”

Sourced from IAB, Exchange Wire; additional content by WARC staff