A recent report by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has been a popular topic of discussion and has provoked some thoughts across the industry. We, as tech vendors, influenced by the report want to touch upon separate but essentially relative discussion about technology and transparency in adtech.
In adtech, some vendors in the market may be referred to as providing black box solutions. A black box solution is a terminology used to define technology operating in a closed system, with no visibility of how the results are achieved. The user of black box technology is unaware of the process used to acquire the results. There is a lot of polemic and controversy that comes with the use of it. Here we'll take a look at two of the main problems associated with black box solutions and we'll put them side by side with what we believe should be the correct approach.
Lack of transparency vs Full Accountability
Main issue with black box solutions is the lack of transparency. Although, the results may be achieved, the user is unaware of how it was achieved and how it could be improved. There is no sharing of data and delivery of information as the system is operating in an opaque way.
In our perspective, transparency should be put first and black box solutions should be left behind. We believe in user having an open and a unified view on all their activities to better base their activities. The user is likely to feel secure of their data when the control is in their hands with exactly knowing what is going on.
The need for tech expertise in advertising has never been greater. Programmatic is taking the lead, consumer journeys are becoming more complex on digital devices, high amounts of data is in existence and technology is becoming essential for advertising efforts to find a better way to engage. It is providing valuable solutions to meet the needs of consumers consistently. Now when this is the case, and clients are relying on us for results, it is our obligation to hand over full accountability to them.
Closed Systems vs Flexibility
Black box solutions offer closed, opaque systems built in a way where you just follow its rails. If you want to be creative and flexible you are unable to do so. It does not allow you to build and customise features based on your needs and specific requirements.
With open systems, the flexibility allows users make technology adapt to their needs and tailor-make the features. If you want to do something different which is relevant to your needs, you have the value for it. For instance a programmatic campaign implementation API (like Skott Gateway for example) is built on the idea of open systems, whereby you can push changes directly to your Buying Platform and edit your campaigns in the relevant way to you, adding value to your existing features.
Moreover, it is extensive that tech vendors help their users be more independent. Products should be based upon the idea of giving users the freedom to use the technology independently. By not keeping the know-how to yourself and transmitting the knowledge will educate the marketers into programmatic. And this will give rise to technology adoption and how they can use programmatic to the best of their knowledge which will be beneficial for the future of programmatic advertising.
Fair to say, transparent and open solutions can help clients have a full overview of the process with an ability to make changes. You can use it to your advantage for strategic decisions and improving regularly. We strongly believe in partnerships between different vendors in the industry and for that open, flexible systems are imperative.