Can blockchain bring transparency to the world of digital advertising? Source: Shutterstock

Can blockchain bring transparency to the world of digital advertising? Source: Shutterstock

Nestlé, McDonald’s, Virgin Media root for transparency in digital ads

GLOBAL ad spends indicate that digital advertising has recently overtaken traditional mediums — or, in some parts of the world, is neck and neck with print and television ads.

In countries such as China, the UK, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand, for example, digital advertising will make up 69.5 percent, 66.4 percent, 65.5 percent, 57.1 percent, and 54 percent respectively, according to eMarketer (2019 figures).

However, as digital advertising spends have gone up — and the number of stakeholders in the industry, namely, platforms, agencies, resellers, and publishers has skyrocketed — transparency has become a common pain point.

It’s why the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), an independent body made up of the four trade bodies, has come up with a new blockchain platform to boost trust and efficiency in digital advertising.

The four trade bodies are AOP (Association of Online Publishers), IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau), IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) and ISBA (the body which represents the UK’s leading advertisers).

In announcing the pilot project a few months ago, JICWEBS asked advertisers, media owners, and other parties involved in digital advertising to get involved and support the evaluation of blockchain, or DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), and how it can help boost efficiency and transparency.

Nestlé, McDonald’s, and Virgin Media, JICWEBS recently said, are the first brands to sign up for the initial stage of the pilot which aims to provide end-to-end supply chain transparency and clarity around advertising spend.

Further stages of the trial, the body revealed, will look to optimize the supply chain and gain operational efficiencies for all involved.

The brands, of course, are joined by their respective media agencies Zenith, OMD UK, and Manning Gottlieb OMD in the trial.

“This technology offers us the opportunity to see a truly transparent picture of our investment across the digital supply chain. We are also eager to understand the potential impact that this may have on our ROI and efficiency,” McDonald’s UK&I Senior Media and Budget Manager Kat Howcroft said in a press release.

JICWEBS has partnered with London-based tech business FIDUCIA for the pilot which it plans to run across the rest of the year. If successful, JICWEBS will consult with the industry on how best to roll this out in 2020 to raise levels of trust and transparency in digital advertising.

As the project develops and the supply chain mapping is completed, additional participants will be announced, including publishers and technology vendors, explained JICWEBS.

“This is a pivotal time for digital media and we’re keen to see if this technology can bring much-needed clarity to the digital advertising supply chain so that advertisers can trust their budgets are being used effectively,” ISBA Director of Media Stephen Chester said at the announcement of JICWEBS’ blockchain project.

Overall, with platform partners such as Facebook and YouTube and agencies such as GroupM, Havas, and IPG Mediabrands, JICWEBS’ initiative is expected to deliver results, bringing in more transparency in the digital advertising space as revenues skyrocket in developed and emerging markets.