New AMAA Media Trust Research


Digital Issues Waste Marketers Ad Dollars the annual AMAA research reveals

The latest third-party annual research on trust in digital ad trading, conducted on behalf of industry media audit body the AMAA, shows 6 in 10 industry professionals indicated they have experienced a negative digital marketing event – including misreporting of metrics, brand safety compromises and ad fraud. Of those impacted, 70% of marketers said it results in wasted ad dollars.

Not surprisingly, for every marketer satisfied there are four that are dissatisfied with how the most important digital trading issues are being addressed by the industry. And only 12% rated their trust in the digital advertising trading ecosystem as high.

The study presents a three-year trend analysis for the top five digital trading issues that the industry needs to tackle in the next 12 months, showing a heightened awareness of digital ad fraud – the combined result for ad fraud and non-human traffic being 73% of respondents (up from a combined 58% in 2016).

Social Media was the channel that rated highest in terms of needing oversight for best practice. Programmatic ad trading is still high on the radar of media agencies, with significantly more agency professionals than marketers (72% v’s 40%), seeing it as the area most in need of greater oversight to ensure best practice is adopted.

The industry buzz word ‘transparency’ came through strongly in response to the question of what was the single most important issue to be improved in digital advertising trading. Analysis revealed that it appeared in 40% of all responses across a range of areas.

The study confirmed that marketer confidence in the industry’s handling of the issue of transparency hadn’t improved from the previous year, with 75% of marketers agreeing that poor industry transparency will lead to more marketers taking their media buying in-house.

The impact of more robust self-governance, with trading partners being certified for best practice, was seen as having potential to deliver positive outcomes with 70% agreeing it would increase trust, 55% agreeing that it meant less risk for marketers and 50% that it would result in better advertising performance.

Certification of trading partners, by an industry body, was also indicated as having the potential flow on benefit of reducing the reliance of external commercial auditing firms to provide the oversight that marketers inevitably feel is required.

“Each year with this pulse of industry trust in the digital trading ecosystem, we see the concern over issues increasing. This year, 60% of industry respondents reported experiencing digital marketing issues with the majority of these wasting marketers’ funds. In terms of what is holding us back, from more robust self-regulation to address the issues, marketers indicated the top two reasons are lack of awareness and complacency. The AMAA continues to advocate for the industry to move forward on cohesive frameworks to engender consistent accountability and transparency in digital ad trading,” AMAA CEO, Josanne Ryan said.

Key insights:

  • Top Issues to be addressed in the next 12 months – highest increases in Ad Fraud moving to 51% and Non-human traffic at 53% (combined net 73%). Brand Safety jumped from 30% in 2017 to 48% in 2018. While Proof of Performance and Cross Media Audience Measurement remain high priorities.
  • Channels most in need of oversight for best practice to build trust- Social Media 63% and Programmatic trading at 56%, Online Video third highest at 45%.
  • Only 12% of the industry have high trust in the digital ad trading eco-system, with 54% indicating moderate trust, 34% indicated a neutral or low trust level.
  • 70% indicated greater industry trust would be delivered by more robust self-regulation with trading partners certified for best practice. This was also seen as reducing risk for marketers (55%) delivering better advertising performance (50%) and a cleaner digital supply chain (48%).
  • Overseas industry governance models are reported to improve these issues in their markets, when asked why Australia has been slower to move in this direction, marketers agreed that ‘lack of awareness of these issues’ (52%) and ‘complacency’ (47%) were the biggest issues, agencies agree with these points but the biggest issue for agencies was that ‘no one wants to pay for it’.
  • What will it take to motivate the industry to take more collective action – combined answers for both marketers and agencies:
    • 59% Clients/ marketers must demand it
    • 52% Proof that it improves advertising performance
    • 50% More industry education and dialogue about these issues
    • 49% Proof it saves money
    • 48% More industry wide collaboration

Marketers clearly recognise that that they are the agents of change with 58% indicating they see it as their role to demand solutions.

The study was conducted by independent research company The Insights Grill via an online survey of with 407 marketers and media agency professionals participating in April-May 2018. The mix of respondents was 50/50 clients and media agency with 2/3 in digitally focused roles.

The AMAA is providing presentations to the industry of The Trust Impact full survey results. To book your presentation or request the white paper contact the AMAA via email:

You can also download our 5 key highlights here.


Date: 11 Sep 2018

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