Perusing the advertising industry trade publications over the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but notice a recurring theme… poor judgement. Whether temporary lapses or recurring behavior all parties including marketers, agencies, adtech suppliers and publishers seem to be afflicted by this malady of late.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Client-side procurement personnel waylaying agency reviews by disregarding strategic selection criteria to focus on “cost improvement” as the driver in selecting agency partners.
- Media agencies recommending unproven media products such as outstream auto-play video. Why? Aside from ads running through completion while out-of-view thus artificially inflating completion rates and skewing ad effectiveness measures, the notion of forcing a video on a user that has not opted-in could negatively impact that user’s experience and their feelings toward the brand.
- Digital media sellers continuing to use sourced traffic from third parties to increase the number of visitors to their websites to meet audience delivery requirements.
- YouTube failing, once again, to police its own platform policies and safeguard brand advertisers by allowing users to find and make unsavory comments on videos featuring young children.
- The feedback from media buyers attending the Digiday Media Buying Summit regarding the aforementioned video publisher, believing that “yes” it is a brand-unsafe environment but it works, giving advertisers the views and conversions.
- Social media influencers purchasing followers to increase their alleged reach, thus boosting their appeal to brand marketers.
The good news is that there are certainly good actors in the industry that are conducting themselves in an honorable manner, making sound decisions and taking proactive measures to address the aforementioned lapses in judgement. Examples include Unilever’s recent decision to ban the use of influencers who purchase followers and advertisers such as Nestle, McDonalds and Disney pulling their schedules from YouTube.
That said, the apparent level of apathy toward brand-unsafe media environments, unproven media channels, inorganic followers and site visitors and an unhealthy focus on low price at the expense of quality is quite alarming.
One can only hope that these lapses in good judgement are temporary and that the industry takes heed and puts the appropriate safeguards in place to protect advertisers and brands moving forward. In the words of Simon Bolivar, the 18th century Venezuelan military and political leader:
“Judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”