Readers of this blog and other industry news are likely familiar with Marc Pritchard, P&G’s outspoken chief brand officer. The influential CPG executive kicked off a much-needed debate within the ad world earlier this year with comments about problems of digital ad transparency and effectiveness. The discussion ultimately resulted in some significant changes in digital ad transparency standards and also encouraged more brands to take a closer look at how and where they are spending their digital dollars. Last month, Pritchard sat down with industry publication Marketing Dive to discuss the industry’s progress to date and the areas that he feels still need improvement. Here are some selected thoughts from the chat.
Digital ad transparency is definitely improving…
It’s probably no surprise to hear that many advertisers and publishers have cleaned up their act since Pritchard’s comments were first released at the beginning of 2017. Pritchard agrees with this assessment: “I would say nearly everybody has stepped up on transparency. By the end of the calendar, I think we’ll largely be done with the key action steps we outlined,” he said.
But digital content still needs some work
While Pritchard was pleased by the progress that’s been made among the digital ad sector to handle problems related to fraud, viewability and brand safety, he’s less confident that the industry has fully addressed other problems like low-quality content. “What still needs to get done is to dramatically improve the content on which we advertise,” he said. “There are still way too many sites with way too much low-quality content.”
That said, Pritchard does believe some of the sector’s larger ad platforms like Facebook and YouTube have made good-faith improvements to ensure advertisers appear alongside high-quality content. “YouTube has done a real good job of identifying higher quality, brand-safe channels that we can advertise on,” noted Pritchard. “Facebook has done something similar with their Audience Network and some other places.”
New innovation will help the industry to thrive
Pritchard also noted in his interview that he’s most excited about some emerging technologies that will help advertisers create more engaging creative and improve targeting. Virtual reality and augmented reality were two areas of interest, as they may soon allow for more immersive ad experiences. Another area of excitement is the new “consumer ID” system, which will help advertisers get closer to their goal of delivering “one-to-one” marketing to consumers. “With the large consolidation of consumer ID data, I see more brands and companies being able to harness that in order to achieve one-to-one marketing on a mass scale,” he said. “In the next 12-to-18 months is when we will see the big breakthroughs.”
Pritchard’s role as one of the digital ad industry’s foremost spokesmen continues to grow in importance as more advertisers and publishers hang on his every word. And so far, his comments seem to have prompted a shakeup that’s helped improve the ad experience for everyone from consumers, to publishers, and advertisers as well. But as his newest interview seems to suggest, Pritchard views his battle for transparency as the opening salvo in a larger war, one in which the industry will continue to push for great innovation, more personalized messaging and better content in the process.