There have been no signs of improvement in advertising standards of transparency, brand safety and viewability since January 2017, according to a new report by media and advertising consultancy NewBase.

The findings were laid out in the company’s Marketing Priorities Report, where it claimed survey-based research revealed that 60% of industry professionals said open dialogue around transparency and viewability standards had failed to translate to real-world improvements.

In the wake of a loss of trust in the digital advertising supply chain by high-profile brands – such as P&G, which has cut agency spending by $750 million in the last three years – many members of the display and programmatic industry have made concerted efforts to demonstrate commitment to improving transparency over ad spend and brand safety.

This has been led largely by independent bodies such as JICWEBs (The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards in the UK and Ireland) which aims to ensure independence and comparability of measurement on the web and who most recently certified social video-sharing site YouTube for striving to meet brand safety requirements.

Meanwhile, open conversations around ad standard issues are pressuring companies to publicly acknowledge and adopt such initiatives as JICWEBs’ certification and the IAB Gold Standard in order to maintain a whitehat reputation among clients and new business. Some are even seeing the opportunity to pitch their business on transparency; agency TRUTH, for example, has ridden on the blockchain technology buzz in efforts to provide “100% transparent” ad trading.

‘No more excuses’

Despite this deliberate shift in attitudes, however, some 59% of marketers and advertisers believe that control over brand safety, in reality, remains poor. In all, nearly two thirds (64%) of the sample believed there had been no improvement, or that the situation had actually got worse.

Simon Taylor, regional managing director EMEA at NewBase said: “There are no more excuses for anything but 100% transparency, and topics like this distract from the amazing developments in utilising technology and data in supporting brands in their journey innovation.

“The structures required to enable this are new and replace legacy trading desks that are still tracking media and not business KPIs.”

While efforts are being made across the industry towards transparency, improved viewability and brand safety – and the effects of this progress may be yet to be truly seen – the report would suggest more needs to be done in order to win back the hearts and minds of brand advertisers at a large scale. As such, the commercial opportunity for companies to realign themselves publicly with transparency at the fore still remains.