Solving Advertising's Trust Problem

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When the choices of where to advertise were few -- local radio, local newspapers, local broadcast TV, magazines and Yellow Pages -- the issue of trust in your media partners was pretty straightforward: Did my ad run as promised? Was the copy OK? Did they charge me the right amount?

In that yesterday world of media, the issue of sales attribution was pretty straightforward, too: Did more people buy my stuff? Did I, my boss, my family or friends see or hear my ad? Did my customers mention my ad?

Flash-forward to today. By far the hottest topic among Advertising Week attendees, panelists and pundits in New York City over the past few days has been advertising’s big trust problem.

What are these issues? Digital ad exchanges are selling fraudulent, domain-spoofed placements on to the tune of more than $1 million per month. Last-click and multi-touch-point attribution models are collectively showing more advertising return on investment than several times the gross domestic product.

A marketer who was convinced to buy thousands of search terms learned that 97% of all of its search conversions came from searches for its brand name and 21 common misspellings of the brand. When that marketer turned off bids for hundreds of other search terms it was led to believe were vital to its business, there was no measurable impact on sales.
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