A BLOG POST BY CO-FOUNDER, RHYS DENNY
"This cabinet minister said to me, 'F*** knows. I’m past caring. It’s like the living dead in here."
Brexit; its enough to make even hardened Government ministers apathetic, to suck the life out of the very people whose job it is to fix. Even amongst my politically minded friends, when I enthusiastically shared the link to the Revoke Article 50 petition I was met with derision for believing that it would have any effect.
Have we always been so cynical?
If you’re nosey like I am and listen to the bustle of people’s discussions when they’re around you, it seems that this mindset is quite prevalent everywhere you go. Perhaps it's a generational thing, perhaps it's a British thing; either way we’re a funny species with a lot to say, but very few seem to want to do anything about it. People don't like their jobs, but they stay for years because it's easier (and change is scary). People are in unhappy relationships, but stay because they don't want to deal with the scary world of Tinder. I’ve even seen people who will eat something that they don't like because they can't be bothered to complain!
In my opinion allowing an apathetic mindset to creep in is the beginning of the end. To accept the status quo, even if you know it is wrong seems crazy to me. To accept situations, because if you try and push back you presume that you won't get the response you want. To accept things are “unlikely to change” as one publisher said to us recently, seems completely and utterly alien to me.
Great things happen when people don't accept their lot: When we take control and decide to do something about what is making us unhappy, the benefits are more often than not, hugely worth it. When six million people sign a petition, it starts to create change. When someone decides that enough is enough at work and speaks to a recruiter, it creates a new lease of life, a new future avenue. When someone leaves their dead-end relationship to start swiping right (or is it left?), they open up new doors to new opportunities. And when people don't eat the pink, raw chicken that will inevitably not end well for them, they receive a better, more delicious meal worth waiting for.
Challenging the status quo
Closer to home in our industry, however, I do feel that there is a genuine desire to change. Over the past ten months discussions we’ve been having in the market are presenting a determination to challenge the status quo, in a bid to make things better again. Since my blog back in January, the response has been so great, we’ve been filled with huge hope for the future of our industry.
Are we now ready to make a change? To collectively decide that 7000 adtech vendors is far too many for an industry to evolve and improve; to not let adtech vendors misbehave and have their own way; and to push back and come together to change the conversation.
Sometimes we forget that ‘mature’ programmatic advertising is barely 10 years old (with its early days documented back in 1994 with the first banner ad). The fact that it has grown to a multi-billion dollar industry is fantastic. But incredible growth and a system not built for regulation has led to a fractured marketplace, with a very small number of players taking the vast majority of the revenue and driving the agenda (that favours them). Multiple vendors are fighting over a decreasing pot and adding no value to the ecosystem.
However, I believe we can make this better if we push back.
A step in the right direction
We are starting to see the buy side make big movements to smarter initiatives, in news such as Unilever’s latest release uncovering their ‘Trusted Publisher Network’ to help them transform the way they operate.
Couple this with work that is being done on the publisher side, such as consortiums and industry bodies working together to create best practices that will look to drive a positive impact about how the industry interacts with each other, change will start to build a better future.
Our goal is also to make a difference, “to make advertising better”, and we are very serious about this mission. We want to tackle the big challenges in the market and work to make the ecosystem fairer for all. We want to work closely with partners to call out questionable practices as we believe that the status quo is no longer working.
Our DIAGNOSE insights have enabled our clients to make bold changes to their adtech stack, and they're already reaping the benefits with better performing websites and less compliance issues.
But we go beyond client-specific projects: we're providing insights to the industry (you will have seen our findings quoted in Digiday here and here) to drive change, with the risk of not always being very popular! It's not our job to name and shame; but it is our job to push for change.
We having some really exciting partnerships and news coming very soon with industry bodies. Get in touch to hear more about other project we're working on; and how we can work collaboratively to make advertising, better.