Some of the world’s biggest advertisers, including Procter & Gamble and Unilever, have joined forces with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) to design a new framework to help the industry improve digital advertising.
After more than a year of negative headlines and widely reported concerns about brand safety, ad fraud and other issues, the new Global Media Charter sets out eight ‘Principles for Partnership’ which the WFA expects all agencies, ad tech firms and media platforms to comply with in order to secure future advertising revenues.
Launched during the WFA’s Global Marketer Week event in Tokyo, the new charter has full support from at least ten of the world’s largest advertisers as well as advertising trade bodies in the top ten global advertising markets.
At a time when consumer trust in online ads is at an all-time low and with the WFA pointing to evidence that ad blocking is growing at a rate of 30% a year, WFA president David Wheldon said it was time for the industry as a whole to “draw a line in the sand”.
“Things need to change and fast,” he said. “The WFA Global Media Charter is critical in that it lists what brands need from their online partners so that the system can be sustainable. Put simply, it’s the only future for the online advertising ecosystem.”
Specifically, the eight principles contained in the Global Media Charter require zero tolerance to ad fraud with compensation for any breach, as well as strict brand safety protection.
Minimum viewability thresholds are demanded along with transparency throughout the supply chain. In addition, the WFA and its brand partners are calling for third-party verification and measurement as a minimum requirement.
The sixth principle covers the removal of ‘walled garden’ issues – for example, data and technology should be unbundled, allowing advertisers to use the third-party buying platform of their choice “in any and all environments”.
Advertisers must also commit to working with partners to improve data transparency standards and, finally, advertisers and platforms must take further steps to improve the consumer experience.
“The largest chunk of the world’s marketing budgets is now invested in digital platforms and advertisers have a right to demand that the money they invest can be clearly tracked and understood,” said Stephan Loerke, the WFA’s CEO.
“It’s not just about knowing that budgets have been well spent. We also need to be reassured that brand and consumer interests are protected in these new platforms.”