Many advertising agencies in the US have been taking their clients’ media dollars and distributing them in ways that pad their own profits, rather than doing what’s actually best for the client.
They do so in the form of rebates, mark-ups and pre-arranged agreements, all of which take place behind closed doors, completely unbeknownst to the client. If clients are aware of it, they are under the assumption that the agencies do this for better negotiating power, or for more efficiencies…but that is rarely the case.
The bottom line is that marketers are losing media efficiency and the ability to improve their own results. They can’t see what their media spend is really buying, therefore they can’t optimize it. A chunk of every dollar they spend is being wasted before they even begin.
Meanwhile, honest agencies are kept out of the running for significant accounts because they don’t hide their sources of profits, therefore they appear more expensive when they are anything but.
This has got to stop, but it won’t until every marketer is educated and committed to transparency.
Our media arm, Proove Accountable Media , was established to combat these dishonest agencies through providing clients with a better option – and to Proove there’s a better way.
Since it was founded, Proove has been directed by Agency Partner Adam Lutz, who, as evident from last year’s Business Insider article here, has become one of the leading pioneers on media transparency and accountability today.
So how is Proove Accountable Media different?
We only buy media that actually runs.
We don’t force our clients to use a prebuilt trade desk or limit them to particular buying technologies and data partners.
We never saddle our clients with pre-arranged investment commitments. Our job is to evaluate every partner, technology and ad buying platform and give the client the most relevant opportunity to fit their needs, not ours.
We don’t markup inventory or create revenue streams that ultimately deplete our clients’ media budgets.
Everything we do, buy, manage and execute is transparent and in our clients’ best interests.
To be an “agency” implies fiduciary responsibility to put the client’s best interest first. It’s why we got into this business in the first place, to help our clients grow and prosper. We over-communicate. We over collaborate. And then we over deliver.
Unlike the rest of the industry, we are a true agent of the client.
Hold everyone of us at DiMassimo Goldstein and Proove accountable for these promises. We already do.
Our Chief, Mark DiMasismo, takes to the DiGo Beach to shed some light on the controversy surrounding the recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report on media kickbacks. To see the full transcript, scroll down below.
Mark DiMassimo On Media Kickbacks from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.
“So a lot of folks want to know what’s all this fuss about kickbacks – media kickbacks – that the ANA (the Association of National Advertisers) and the 4A’s (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) are squabbling about in public. In fact, the ANA, which represents the nation’s largest advertisers, is about to release a report that is predicted to say that most holding companies and agencies are taking kickbacks. Now I don’t know that that’s the fact, and I don’t know that that’s in the report, but that’s what’s being said in the press. And the 4A’s, which represents all the large agencies and holding companies, is coming back and saying ‘before you release your report, ANA, make sure that you have the facts’.
So what is this? What do they mean by kickbacks? I wanted to talk to you about this. I care a lot about it because I run an independent agency. And Independent agencies aren’t necessarily represented by either of those groups.
So we’re on the DiMassimo Goldstein beach here. Let’s look at these bowls of sand. Advertiser: let’s say that this is your media budget (holding bowl 1). And here it is again (holding bowl 2). And this is the independent agency bowl (bowl 1); as you can see, it’s transparent and nearly full. And that’s all your sand right there. In this other bowl, the holding company bowl (bowl 2), they’re probably going to tell you there’s more in this bowl than there is in the other bowl (bowl 1). But if you were to get really close, you would see that there is actually less – maybe 15% – 20% less – sand in this bowl (bowl 2). Why is there less sand in this bowl? I’ll tell you why. Because what is predicted to be finally reported by the ANA is that the holding companies are taking a little bit of the sand from each of those bowls and filling up their big, hidden crystal bowl that they keep in the back room, and are now challenging the 4A’s to prove that they have. But let me tell you, as an independent agency competing against the holding companies for years, I have long suspected and heard from many people on the inside that this bowl does, in fact, exist. And that while holding companies will promise clients ridiculously low commissions in order to get business, in fact, clients are paying bigtime in ways that they can’t track or see. Because the big bowls of media money are hidden, and the only things they see are the small bowls on their report.
So in short, since we don’t know all the facts and can’t know all the facts until this report comes out, and the lawsuits ensue, the fighting between the big advertisers and the big media companies works its way through the court, and there are decisions, etc. Since we can’t know, I would offer you this: in the meantime, there are many good independent agencies. DiMassimo Goldstein and our media arm, Proove, are completely transparent. Clients do not have to wait for a court to tell them where their money is, because it’s 100% evident and transparent, because there only is 1 bowl. There’s only 1 business here – only 1 bowl – and all of the sand that’s in it is your money, the client money. It’s all in there, 100% accounted for. So all of your money goes to helping you build your brand and sell in media. I hope that solved it.”
Recently there has been an influx of ad-block applications appearing on the App Store. These apps were developed in response to consumer backlash about the amount of advertising people were receiving when browsing on their smart phones, and have thus far been popular. As of last week, the three most downloaded apps on the App Store were ad-blockers.
As a consumer, I understand some of the frustrations with mobile ads; they are often intrusive into my expected experience, they often act more as pop ups and are not inline with my scroll, and they are sometimes difficult to close with my fat thumbs. Additionally, I have found some video ads particularly annoying, as they tend to eat up my data more quickly. With that said, I also realize they may be necessary for me to continue viewing “free” content.
As a marketer, I share some of the frustrations but think most of the instances are a result of other marketers not doing an effective job of picking and choosing the placements that seamlessly integrate into the user experience. High impact sounds good and all, but if it annoys the consumer then all you are doing is drawing negative connotation to the brand and the ad.
As a marketer and consumer, I know there must be a better way to advertise and incorporate that advertising in my expected user experience. Companies like Sled Mobile are working to solve the issue by developing and serving high impact ads that are in stream with a user’s scroll, but more can certainly be done and not just from the delivery side but also from the creative and placement side.
Planners need to be working harder to ensure that the ads they are placing are in an environment where the user is getting some good content. The user will then be more closely aware that the ad is the reason why the content is free ex: YouTube, but it needs to be something relevant to them individually. Broad and untargeted placements do not work on mobile; ads should be helpful and relevant.
From a creative standpoint, there should be more emphasis on unique and dynamic messaging. Messaged should be catered to location or user activity. The adaptation of a standard desktop display ad to mobile is no longer acceptable.
Being a consumer and marketer gives me a unique perspective; however the one perspective I am not afforded is that of the content provider. What will ad-blocking applications mean for them? Unfortunately, it could mean death. With ads being blocked, we must ask how the content provider is to stay in business. Everyone loves the idea of free content but unfortunately it’s just an idea and not a reality. Everything on the back end; writers, contributors, designers and webmasters must be paid for.
How is the content provider or publisher to stay in business if they cannot monetize on their offering and recoup some of the costs associated with content creation? Native or custom content is one option, but there certainly isn’t enough demand to fund a full content offering just yet. Would users visit a site if every piece of content on there was co-created by an advertiser? I think not.
Before we all go out and start downloading ad-blockers, we should first think about the possible repercussions on the content providers we know and love.
-Dan Sauvigné, Associate Media Director, Proove Accountable Media
Media Agencies are operating in an old school fashion, marking up inventory, not being transparent, moving at a snails pace and not investing in the best talent. I felt there was an opportunity for an agency to be fully transparent, ethical, and to act as a true agent for the client. Built from the ground up, Proove is positioned as a challenger to the old school model and is set up to drive success for our clients in todays world.
What do our clients get from an honest agency?
No previous prearranged media, partner or data commitments…a realtime log of the daily optimizations made & a non-biased media recommendation that clearly maps back to what you need to accomplish in market. You will actually know where your media is running.
What does that mean?
Proove Accountable Media, the way media should be.
Read the full Business Insider article here.