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Advertiser faith in digital platforms crumble as trust runs below 50%

With the sole exception of Google Search, advertiser confidence in digital/social platforms runs significantly below 50%, read a recent private survey from research firm Advertiser Perceptions. The survey was conducted with 399 advertising executives – 60% at agencies, 40% at marketers in the US.

In the wake of audience restatements by Facebook, the importance of trust is evident with two-thirds of advertisers reporting they are questioning their investments with that popular social platform. Of those, 40% plan independent audits of Facebook’s audience and ad delivery.

According to the survey, marketing folks say social media in general have too many unknown factors especially with the mounting unease over reporting. It added that third-party verification can’t come too soon to digital media, as the combination of bot fraud, fake news and audience restatements has 50% of marketers saying they will no longer place advertising on a platform they consider risky.

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“Google Search is the defacto standard of a buy you can’t question. The analytics are pure and anyone can see them on a dashboard. Digital advertising platforms can’t assume that trust issues will blow over,” said Kevin Mannion, chief strategy officer at Advertiser Perceptions. “No matter what is being said in meetings or from conference stages, the biggest ad buyers are clearly apprehensive.”

As for Facebook, he said:

Facebook can’t go whistling in the dark now. While they’ve built up too much goodwill and success for the metrics restatements to automatically erode spending, they need to take the lead in third-party verification.”

Last year the social media giant admitted to the discrepancies between count for the Like and Share buttons via its Graph API. It also identified discrepancies in the Like and Share counts when a user enters a URL into the search bar in the Facebook mobile app. In November Facebook admitted in a blog post that it discovered miscalculations on the number of completed video views, the total organic reach for business pages and the amount of time spent with Instant Articles.

Nonetheless, despite trust issues, 84% of advertisers said they intend to increase spending this year with Facebook and/or Google, which have set themselves apart from the digital pack in scale. Several emerging platforms are making compelling cases for increased spending, most notably Instagram and Snapchat.

 

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