Ad Age: Ad Age Op-Ed by Andrew Casale: A Seismic Shift Is Underway in Ad Tech

It’s time for ad tech to take responsibility.

Even as ad tech players gear up to yet again take over Yacht Row at the Cannes ad festival and anticipate talking shop over glasses of rosé, they need to recognize the tone is going to be very different than when they first stepped onto the French Riviera.

Brand safety concerns and a rising industry chorus around transparency with clients is pushing our industry to finally halt its blatant mistreatment of marketer dollars.

Since last year’s Cannes, we’ve seen the rise in practices like header bidding rip control from the hands of individual, dominant companies. Other developments like the emergence of the Ads.txt initiative are finally helping address the challenges in our supply chain and attacking fraud tools like domain spoofing.

Efforts like these, and many others currently underway, are bringing more transparency to the market. But there’s still work to done and players that aren’t on board should be wary. I believe we’re about to see a seismic shift within our industry that will cause massive amounts of consolidation and commoditization throughout our supply chain.

Perspective from another market
Parallels are often drawn between programmatic and the stock exchange, and there are similarities towards both industries’ trajectory towards efficiency. A report by a Columbia University student shows the price to buy and sell stock was extremely high from the 1920s into the early 1970s. During this period, stock brokers had fixed-rate commissions and were taking large fees off the top of trades. When the market was deregulated in 1975, these fixed-rate commissions were no longer allowed. This move definitively changed the way the market was priced. Jason Zweig, commentator for The Wall Street Journal, said this about the market shift:

The obvious lesson is that when brokers treat their customers more fairly, the customers prosper. May Day smashed Wall Street’s monopoly, unleashing the discount-brokerage industry, fostering independent research and democratizing the world of investing. The subtle lesson is that when brokers treat their customers more fairly, everyone prospers.

Since 1975, the stock market has improved in benefit to its customers. Before a stock is purchased, one has full transparency into how the stock is trending, trade volumes, historical valuations, and the instantaneous market price of any given share. This valuable information leads to true price discovery and has created a trusted market where costs associated with transactions need not be questioned. (Continued…)


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