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‘There’s never been more confusion’: Media heads on navigating digital advertising

During this session from November's Radio Alive 2017 conference, a panel of CMOs and CEOs from across Australia's publishing landscape talk trust, transparency and brand safety.

According to Peter Horgan, CEO, Omnicom Media Group ANZ, the general sentiment within the digital advertising space is “confusion”.

“At this juncture in the communications business, there’s never been more confusion,” he says during the following session from Commercial Radio Australia’s Radio Alive 2017 conference. “Even the experts are scrambling to keep up with the pace of change.”

Horgan points out that “brand safety is something of a mirage.”

“In the digital realm… the notion that you could outsource that to technology has led to the disasters we’ve seen.”

However, he says: “Never waste a crisis. Those disasters this year have encouraged some of the global tech behemoths to change their behaviour and open themselves up to greater third-party scrutiny.”

Geraldine Davys, chief marketing officer, iSelect takes a look at the issue from a client perspective: “The one thing that’s very alarming personally and really scares the hell out of me is some of the research that we’re really starting to see in the market.”

Davys points to research from CMO council, which found of the $563 billon globally that’s spent on digital, some 20% is wasted due to ad fraud of some kind.

“We have a huge amount of work to do in this space to continue to build trust,” she says.

“This is getting harder and harder for CMOs, because you’ve got boards asking a lot of questions, you’ve got CEOs asking a lot of questions about where this money is going.”

With the increasing complexity of the digital space, ‘digital transformations’ have gone from a completable task to “something that never really stop”, according to Davys.

“I had my CEO recently say ‘Well gee, you’re halfway through this digital transformation, when is it actually going to end?’, and I said ‘Well, probably never’. This is going to evolve for a long time to come.”

Jason Scott, CEO, Allure Media believes the only way to navigate the pace of change is to be ready for it.

“My advice to anyone in the media industry, whatever side you’re on – client, publisher, agency – if you’re not up for change, if you’re not up for an entrepreneurial career ahead of you, then I’ll probably do something else, because I agree, this is going to be the norm, and that offers excitement.”

When it comes to strategy, Scott believes the future of change comes from saying no to the old ways of thinking.

“A really good decision is sometimes no, so there’s nothing compelling you to keep doing the things you’re doing.”

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