GLOBAL: Ad fraud may be worth upwards of $7bn a year but it rates very low down on the list of concerns for brands and agencies in 2018, which is dominated by digital metrics and recruitment issues.

A survey undertaken by WARC for its Toolkit 2018 publication, covering 616 marketing and advertising professionals around the world, finds that viewability and accurate measurement are the most-cited cause for concern (49% brands, 45% agencies) ahead of issues like talent and skills (44% brands, 39% agencies).

Other digital issues such as ad fraud (13% brands, 12% agencies) and ad blocking (9% brands, 13% agencies) are at the bottom of the list.

Despite an extensive catalogue of concerns, which also include the complexity of adtech and martech, the rise of zero-based budgeting and consumer data regulation, few respondents feel that digital spending will reduce in 2018.

Less than a third (32%) of brand respondents expect to cut digital spending in the absence of solutions to brand safety, viewability and fraud problems, while almost half (49%) affirm they will not be reducing digital investment.

Agencies are slightly more wary of a decline in digital spend, with 34% expecting budget cuts unless the media landscape is cleaned up.

An apparent willingness to continue spending, however, does not signal that the relationship between advertisers and media agencies is improving.

Over half (51%) of brand respondents believe there remains a crisis of trust between clients and media agencies – an opinion that is shared by agency-side colleagues: 52% of those working at media agencies agree with that view, as do 57% of respondents from creative agencies.

In terms of digital platforms, Instagram is best-placed to benefit, with 60% of respondents stating they are likely to increase adspend on the Facebook-owned platform; Facebook itself stands to see an increase from half of respondents.

Half of respondents expect to increase spending on Google, and 52% on its YouTube platform, clearly not discouraged by the adverse publicity the video platform has generated over the past year.

Amazon’s recent attempts to sell itself as an ad platform look likely to bear fruit: although 57% of respondents do not intend to use the site for advertising, the vast majority of those using it plan to increase investment.

WARC will be exploring further the themes highlighted in Toolkit 2018 at a London event on January 10th and in a global webinar on February 12th.

Sourced from WARC