“Trust allows relationships to compound. When you don’t have to re-evaluate people or worry about protecting yourself all the time, you go both further and faster with less anxiety and stress.” – Shane Parrish

Trust related issues are dominating ad industry headlines. We heard it first from consumers who wanted more control over their data and its use. But now the growing roar is coming from advertising brands themselves. Across our research for many clients on many topics, trust is one issue that has been popping to the top of Advertisers’ minds repeatedly. We took a closer look at this issue in a recent Advertiser Perceptions webinar [link].



If you’re a media seller, chances are good you’ve had these conversations with your clients: “What are you doing for fraud detection and prevention?” “Can we talk about my ad showing up where it shouldn’t?” How have you responded?

By distilling many hours of research and analysis, we’ve arrived at the top three things all media sellers need to understand – and practice…

  1. TRUST DRIVES MEDIA DECISIONS  Advertisers and marketers are so serious about trusting their ad platforms that they’re pulling budget from those they don’t trust and creating new job titles for people within the company to monitor brand safety and fraud. Specifically, Proctor & Gamble slashed ad budgets by $750M, and stopped working with a lot of their agencies because of ad fraud in 2017. Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Brand Safety Officer are new titles with a clear action attached to them: Get this right.

What this means to media sellers

Trust is driving business decisions. Is your platform able to give strong answers to the three points of concern that marketers and advertisers have? If you can’t give strong answers, are you pushing for better protections for your clients in these areas?


  1. YOU CANNOT WAIT THIS OUT  81% of advertisers are either already evaluating ad investments against trust related attributes or will do so in the next 6 months. This wasn’t even a topic of conversation two years ago. Remember when we kept thinking the Year of Mobile would be next year? The Year of Mobile happened while we were wondering when it would show up. The same is true on this issue of trust for media companies and their clients.

What this means to media sellers

The Trust Era is now. You cannot wait until next year, or even next quarter, to address this with your clients. To offer robust, powerful responses to your clients’ questions, you need to be taking internal action yesterday.


  1. YOU OWN IT  Advertisers are expecting you (media sellers) to bear the most responsibility for ensuring consumer privacy is reasonably protected. This is a fascinating razor’s edge to think through. On one hand, being able to serve up highly personalized targeting might be your differentiator. On the other, it might be the reason marketers and advertisers worry about working with you. But if you can put consumer protections in place, you get your key differentiator back.

What this means to media sellers

We thought this might be a shared responsibility between advertisers/marketers, government, governing bodies like the IAB, and media companies. Nope. If you own the tech that collects, sorts and shares the data, you own the responsibility to ensure it meets consumer privacy standards.


We began tracking marketer and advertiser trust in 2018 and are committed to updating our Trust Index annually. We’re also interested in adding your experience to our research. What are you hearing from clients on this topic?