PALM SPINGS, Calif – In the interest of promoting digital advertising transparency, AppNexus has done “a complete opening” of its books over the last six months. This type of leadership role should be adopted by every participant in the digital ecosystem for the benefit of marketers and publishers, says CEO Brian O’Kelley.
“I think it’s going to have the effect of dramatically reducing hidden fees, hopefully eliminating them, and increasing the amount of spend from marketers that gets all the way to publishers,” O’Kelley says in this interview with Beet.TV at the annual Leadership Meeting of the Internet Advertising Bureau. “Trust means we have to provide transparency.”
Steps taken by AppNexus include publicly disclosing its “take rate” for its supply-side business, which it says is “by far the lowest in the industry.” It’s extending its transparency on take rates all the way through to the brand.
“So any brand who says ‘where did my money go through my DSP to AppNexus,’ we’ll tell you exactly how much the publisher made,” O’Kelley says.
Partners in this effort include Adobe and third-party auditor Amino Payments.
O’Kelley says the AppNexus DSP, called AppNexus Programmable Platform, is fully transparent for every fee.
“We should see publishers making more money, marketers seeing better outcomes and a dramatic reduction in the inefficient intermediaries that we’ve seen in this space for two decades now.”
He traces the path to opaque digital practices in part to the shift to audience buying in the last decade or so. Brands didn’t seem to care where their ads appeared as long as they were told they were targeting the right people.
That indifference has given way to extreme concern by brands large and small, most notably Procter & Gamble and Unilever, whose Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Weed, used the occasion of the IAB gathering to issue a public threat to pull spending from digital platforms.
“Imagine you’re a marketer. You think you’re buying relevant data but it turns out that’s fraud. Really what you’re spending this on is terrible for your brand and having no known outcome.” O’Kelley says.
In the not-to-distant future, he foresees brands reducing the breadth of inventory they’ll buy, working only with quality publishers “maybe one hop away. But this multiple hops isn’t going to work.” They will also reduce their purchases of third-party data “unless it comes directly from a source” and there will be “a lot fewer intermediaries in the space. I think it’s going to be amazing.”
This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.