But even when an advertiser is using online verification technology like Moat, Integral Ad Science or DoubleVerify, buyers and sellers often don’t align. That can lead to painful reconciliation issues as publishers claim credit for campaigns and brands increasingly demand make-goods or refuse payment if they suspect fraud or can’t confirm media placements.
Online ad reconciliation errors have become a critical industry issue, since they expose ad tech intermediaries to lawsuits and limit the cash available for R&D (or payroll) when exchanges are required to pay publishers immediately for inventory but don’t get paid by the brand or agency for weeks or months – or at all, if discrepancies arise.
The reconciliation issue falls hardest on the programmatic ecosystem, said Avery Durnan, VaynerMedia’s VP of media platforms, who joined the agency this year from Google’s DoubleClick and is testing NYIAX and other blockchain solutions. Google and Facebook demand payment within 30 days or a brand’s account on the platform is shut down, so buyers prioritize those payments over ad tech vendors, where the client has much more leverage, she said.
Big-spending agencies have consolidated budgets with platforms like Google and The Trade Desk, she said, “to have all the payments in one place and thus improve reconciliation.”
The pharmaceutical giant Bayer, for example, is testing blockchain-based digital advertising with another startup, Amino Payments, by offering prompt and guaranteed payment as a “carrot” to ad tech vendors to drive adoption, Jeffrey Rasp, Bayer’s US consumer health group director of digital strategy, told AdExchanger earlier this year.
Heritage brands like IBM, Bayer and Tyson Foods are digging into blockchain technology and catalyzing action within agencies and tech platforms.
“If we earmark $100,000 from a brand for publishers, we want to make sure that’s going primarily to publishers and not to opaque fees,” Durnan said, adding that sophisticated brands are now demanding accountability and even basing agency account decisions on verification efforts.
Paolozzi said questions about blockchain advertising technology have become common for IPG Mediabrands clients.
As an agency, he said, “it is critical for us to be identifying and bringing them those new and emerging opportunities.”