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State of Ad Tech Study: 92% See Need for Industry-Wide Standardization

Perhaps it’s no surprise that ad tech professionals are calling for standardization given the state of digital advertising in recent years. Still, it’s jarring to hear that just 6% of brands, agencies, and publishers are satisfied with the current digital advertising ecosystem — according to a “State of Ad Tech Study” released by AdLedger and MadHive.

The study, released on Wednesday and conducted by research firm Industry Index, who questioned 100 brand marketers, agencies, and digital publishers to understand the current and future states of ad tech from key stakeholders across the ecosystem.

With such a large group unsatisfied with the current state of things, 92% of respondents believing there’s a need for industry-wide standardization also makes sense. The bigger question, perhaps, is what that standardization looks like.

Project OAR has been key in a push for addressable advertising standardization, and the Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA) has introduced TV-like metrics for social video to be transacted against at parity with other premium video formats. And key industry stakeholders like Publicis, Omnicom, IPG, GroupM, Hearst, Meredith and Hershey have united under the AdLedger consortium to develop standards around how innovative technologies can be leveraged to create efficiencies within the digital advertising ecosystem.

The standardization this survey indicates is one that utilizes cryptography to create more transparency and prevent fraud. According to the survey, 83% of respondents believe cryptography can be used to create transparencies and efficiencies in ad tech. And 66% agreed that cryptography could improve problems associated with fraud — and also increase abilities to track results (66%).

When it comes to actual in-market integrations, OTT ad solutions company MadHive is already leveraging cryptography to fight OTT fraud. A recent report from MadHive found that 20% of all OTT ad requests are fraudulent, costing advertisers more than $1.4 billion in 2019. MadHive currently powers fraud detection for TEGNA’s Premion, which stretches across 210 DMAs and hundreds of local networks.

As an optimistic endorsement for the future of cryptography, 72% of respondents believe that we’ll see significant integrations of the technology in the next five years. A 2019 Deloitte survey showed that 53% of those questioned felt cryptography was a critical priority for their business last year. Obviously that investment can take some time to integrate, but the idea that cryptography can be a valuable solution for organizations looking to provide transparency has only gained traction over time.

With OTT and CTV ad volume experiencing a sharp rise (up 320% last year), experts are anxious to implement changes that keep up with a rapidly maturing industry. The decisions made in 2020 will be telling about the form ad tech takes going forward. And if the broader industry doesn’t start implementing deeper, infrastructural changes, OTT will soon fall victim to the same overwhelming inefficiencies on digital.