With the anticipation of GDPR, the topic of transparency in the industry is getting hotter by the second. Come May, digital advertisers will face the new data privacy regulation as GDPR will take effect in the EU. This is where transparency comes into play. Today, we will have a refresher on this open form of communication and its significance. We will look at the three sides of transparency from the following perspectives: the publisher, the advertiser, and the user.

What is transparency, and why is it important?

Transparency essentially means to be open, direct, and clear on what information to communicate among all stakeholders. In this case of GDPR, all digital marketers who wish to continue targeting the EU must comply with the law-abiding request of data privacy. According to a January 2018 report from London Research entitled, “The State of Programmatic Advertising,” in partnership with Truth, 42% of Senior Ad Buyers worldwide are concerned about the lack of agency transparency when it comes to programmatic. The significance of transparency affects different digital advertising companies interested in user reach within the EU.

What transparency means for publishers

For publishers, transparency means being conscious of what their content contains and includes. To avoid losing users and targeted audiences, publishers should filter through and be aware of the types of ads they display on their sites. In light of the climatic address of fake news last year, publishers are motivated to practice more transparency by providing both quality content and ads. Thus, advertisers should be transparent towards the publishers’ content when placing adverts. Publishers such as news sites need to know which ads were placed on their sites and its resulting content performance. Great performance due to solid publisher content and quality ads keep users onsite and prevents publishers from declining with a bad reputation.

What transparency means for advertisers

Advertisers are alert on brand safety and greatly seek transparency. From an eMarketer survey, 41% of advertisers worldwide have a major priority in ensuring a transparent relationship with their programmatic partners while 21% prioritize getting a better understanding of how blockchain could improve transparency, reducing fraud. With the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) recent Ads.txt initiative, advertisers now have more support in fraud prevention. As part of being transparent, advertisers should know where their adverts are placed and should book with partners that offer solutions in compliance with the Better Ad Standards. In addition, advertisers build transparency and consumer trust by producing clear, quality ad placement. Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) initiative of advertisers’ display of the “AdChoices” icon or Ad Marker creates a more “consistent consumer experience,” which strengthens the transparent relationship between advertisers and users.

What makes transparency important for users

Most importantly, both publishers and advertisers must understand what transparency means for users. Online marketers who lack empathy and perspective from their targets risk business opportunities and the chance of return from users. Users’ knowledge of what sites will take are important, especially in a consensual manner. Also, as a user, discovering sponsored content and ads are a great source of transparency. Marked sponsored content is transparent for users because it distinguishes what is content and what is advertising. This avoids the user from experiencing any misunderstandings of what they are consuming online. Therefore, user awareness and a solid online orientation determines a good or bad experience. Transparency from advertisers and publishers earn user trust and a promising outlook on returning users.

The challenges that platforms face with transparency

In addition, platforms, such as plista, participate within the topic of transparency. Platforms need to understand all the participating stakeholders: publishers, advertisers, and users. This is a challenge that is to be considered because if a platform only understands one of the three sides of transparency, then the risk of delivering quality ads and provided inventory or service to all sides, especially with programmatic continuously rising, is at stake. In servicing publishers and advertisers, platforms must also be transparent and build trust with their collaborators. This is in order for all to reach their goals and increase brand reputation.

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