BRUSSELS: Global brands have made major changes, or are planning to make extensive changes, to their media governance practices across a wide range of areas, according to a new study.

A survey of global marketers undertaken by the World Federation of Advertisers, covering 35 multinational companies with a total annual marketing spend of more than $30bn, indicated that the world’s biggest brand owners have been spurred into action as a result of the last year’s Media Transparency report by the Association of National Advertisers in the US.

Transparency was the top priority for 47% of those questioned; 51% said this is rising up the priority list, although 14% felt it is de-escalating, suggesting that some are seeing progress.

More than 70% have amended their media agency contracts and 58% have included terms that define agency status as agent or principle at law.

Brand safety, the number two priority, is moving up the agenda fast, with 70% saying it has escalated as an issue in the last 12 months. Three quarters (74%) have suspended investment in ad networks where they felt there was an unnecessary risk to their brands and a further 14% plan to do so.

Further, 89% currently limit or plan to limit investment in ad networks that do not allow use of third-party verification.

On ad fraud, 55% have limited run of exchange buys, while 43% are shifting away from using CPM as their key metric in favour of business outcomes; 40% are also developing in-house resource to help tackle ad fraud.

On viewability, 63% are now only investing in viewable impressions which meet industry standards and 37% have devised their own viewability criteria.

“Last year’s ANA report was a catalyst for a new wave of action by brands not just in the US but around the world, addressing many of the media issues that our members have highlighted including brand safety and ad fraud,” said Robert Dreblow, Head of Marketing Services at the WFA.

“These actions, coupled with an increasing number of WFA members sharing that they have witnessed improved transparency, are positive signs that we can create an improved media landscape for brands, agency partners and media owners,” he added.

Data sourced from WFA; additional content by WARC staff