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Dmexco 2017: The supply chain revolution has begun

Marc Pritchard, the oft-cited Chief Brand Officer at P&G and perhaps the most outspoken person in terms of digital ad quality, made waves again at Dmexco 2017 when he called for the “next generation of digital ads.”

On Thursday at Dmexco, a panel of digital ad stakeholders discussed the current state of the supply chain — and what can be done to improve it. The conversation revolved around 10 key supply chain challenges.

The 10 key supply chain challenges


  1. Transparency
  2. Measurement
  3. Latency
  4. Privacy
  5. Viewability
  6. Fraud
  7. Adverse context
  8. Ad blocking
  9. Digital duopoly
  10. Fragmentation

“We need more than just Marc Pritchard to say it,” said Andrew Casale, President and CEO of Index Exchange. “I want to hear us talking about more Marc’s, then I believe [the revolution] will have truly started. Marc needs some buddies."

Will Pritchard’s comments be the spark that starts a revolution — one that sees the supply chain cleaned up and ad fraud rooted out? It’s possible. Pritchard himself said the changes are about 60% complete.

But Tim Mahlman, President of Adtech Platforms at Oath, expressed frustration that the conversation still revolves around whether or not the revolution is starting. “Transparency was promised 10 years ago, but the revolution is just now starting?” he asked.

An existential threat


Terence Kawaja, Founder and CEO of LUMA Partners and the moderator of the panel, called the above list of 10 supply chain challenges an “existential threat” to the entire digital ad industry, and he noted that he’s concerned about knee-jerk reactions that might seem like a fix, but really only put off the problem — enabling the root cause to fester and grow.

Kawaja wondered if publisher consortiums are one of those knee-jerk reactions. Most panelists agreed that if consortiums were the solution, we would know by now. But Nick Hugh, CEO of The Telegraph, said that consortiums that attempt to piece together a single user ID on the data side have merit.

The need for third-party measurement

As for ad fraud, Oath’s Mahlman said that he thinks everyone in the industry should work with third-party verification partners, so that companies “aren’t grading their own homework.” He also expressed a desire for more standards around invalid traffic measurement.

Invalid traffic and ad fraud issues have not dissolved. Just in the past month, Pixalate has uncovered and shared two sophisticated attacks — including one that was perpetrated via a Firefox add-on, and another that provided an easy-to-understand example of session hijacking.

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