Agencies are growing increasingly frustrated at brands that are not prioritising investment in brand safety measures, but they are pitching the problem wrong, according to Kraft Heinz APAC head of marketing and innovations Roshni Chatterjee.
Speaking on a panel at Spikes Asia, Chatterjee argued that agencies should stop talking about digital advertising issues such as brand safety, fraud and viewability as a proportion of a brand’s budget, and instead shift the conversation to value and impact on brand.
“Is that the right way of looking at it — do brands need to be educated on the data piece?” she questioned, as other panelists threw around statistics on the proportion of ad spend going to fraudulent content, and the cost of adtech. “It is more about the impact on the brand, if that costs me some money to ensure my brand is seen in the right space I need to do that. It is not about money on the dollar, it’s about what we are doing towards building a better brand.”
“At the end of the day I am buying advertising to build my brand, that is the cost,” she added.
Essentially, Chatterjee’s comments suggest the digital advertising landscape is becoming too complex for brands — with too many adtech players, metrics and statistics — and that a simpler approach would benefit everyone.
“Having 10 adtech partners...that becomes a complicated conversation for a client, and if we don’t understand the value of the technology we will question it,” Chatterjee said. “We should change the conversation from cost to what each of these partners are bringing to the brand, how it results in a valued, viewable impression. Then it becomes more relevant.”
The FMCG marketer was joined on the panel by two agencies — Interpublic Group and Omnicom Media Group — and verification outfit Integral Ad Science. The panelists all agreed that more education of clients is needed, to bring brand safety issues top of mind. This is especially pertinent in Asia, where local brands tend not to prioritise — or are not as informed on — brand safety controls than global ones.
“Global brands never question it [the need for verification, other controls],” said OMG performance head Rohan Mahajan. “When it comes to local brands, they just trust Google and Facebook.”
Chatterjee agreed: “Cautious marketeers will want to put all money on Facebook and YouTube.”
Moving metrics; the blame game
Part of the education needs to centre around moving clients beyond metrics such as CPCs (cost per click) and CPMs (cost per thousand), which is the “wrong way” of measuring media, Mahajan suggested.
But Chatterjee put this back on agencies: “You taught us those metrics,” she challenged. The marketer also questioned whether “agencies are doing enough to educate clients on the need to have transparency around media”, and said more communication was needed.
IAS managing director Southeast Asia Laura Quigley suggested brands have ultimate responsibility over ensuring the quality of their digital advertising placements.
“The agency can offer some level of education, but if the brand doesn't take that up, it is on them in the end,” she said. IAS has some responsibility to educate the market on different types of fraud, and publishers need to “step up to the plate” and clean up their inventory, too, she added.
Chatterjee later acknowledged that brands are more focused on creative than media planning, “because that is more sexy”, she said.
“We still have a distant relationship with media. As long as I am hitting my reach frequency numbers I know my campaign is delivering, and you [the agency] can figure out the rest,” she said. “All of us know we need to work closer together but we don’t do it enough.”
“The moment we talk about brands and agencies there is a divide in the conversation,” she went on. “There might be differences in opinion but as partners we need to educate and evolve so we work towards the common goal; which is the good of the brand.”
Check out our full coverage of Spikes Asia in our three-day blog here.