The Role of Transparency in the Digital Age

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Adotas is pleased to offer a Q&A with Carl Erik Kjærsgaard, co-founder and CEO of Blackwood Seven, a company that uses artificial intelligence to automate the media-buying process for marketers, allowing them to have more control in how their money is invested and how media inventory is bought; this puts an emphasis on the transparency in reporting actual ROI.

Q: What is transparency’s role in the digital age?

A: The digital age has brought on an increase in the amount of platforms media planners need to be cognizant of: TV, radio, cinema, display, out-of-home, social media, search, newspaper, magazines, etc. As last year’s ANA rebate and Dentsu reports have shown, there is a lack of transparency between marketers and the media agency – both parties aren’t exactly sure how and where money is being spent.

While all of these platforms have tools that measures and optimizes the metrics, they do not solve the advertisers transparency problem since you still don’t know how it will affect your business KPI’s. The industry needs to do a better job at holding itself accountable in reporting, and it starts with transparency.

Q: Why and how the advertising industry needs to change?

A: Agencies haven’t changed too much in my time in the business and it feels like they’ve been sleepwalking for the last decade. I’ve heard claims that advertising is the leading edge of technology and creativity; and yet, for years, our media planners and marketers alike have been bogged down with antiquated, opaque, and laborious decision-making processes. We should be embracing emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence, to free marketers and media planners in order to do the thing clients really value us for – good client service and creativity.

Q: How can technology begin to rebuild trust and transparency between advertisers, marketers and media agencies?

A: We’re in an age of artificial intelligence – which is to say, it started as a trend in 2016, but will dominate in 2017. For the media industry, it can It provide us with an unbiased view of how the business or campaign is performing — and it can be done in real time.

When the computer presents its findings or shares its predictions, it’s doing so based on math. It’s completely and totally transparent. And if it gets anything wrong, you can just fix the equation to obtain the desired outcome — like high ROI on a media campaign. Technology can help remove the biases that are absolutely necessary to reestablish trust.

Q: As use of artificial intelligence becomes more widespread in media agencies, will media planners become redundant?

A: For staff in the media agency performing their tasks within Excel spreadsheets, writing out the details and numbers for the media plans, AI will augment their jobs to have a more strategic impact. But we must remember that AI is only a tool. A fast-acting, wide-reaching multi-tool. It still needs the emotion, gut instinct and unpredictability that only humans can provide.

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