Women sitting at table with laptop listening to instructor.

Trust in Advertising



and ad agencies can be transformative; delivering ideas that move product, change minds – even make history. Which is why reports of wavering trust between brands and their agency partners are so disheartening.  

Some blame distrust on buying methodologies, like programmatic, that cut out the human element of paid media planning. Others point to increased competition and slim margins as drivers of unsavory practices among ad agencies. These factors have created challenging and unsteady ground, but blaming environmental factors is a cop out. It’s a lack of transparency that’s put trust on thin ice.

Admittedly, transparency is hard. As an agency-side manager, transparency is an exercise in vulnerability, often in direct conflict with the urge to keeps things clean and simple for a client. For busy client teams, the time required to communicate candidly and frequently can be hard to come by, and high levels of transparency may conflict with an organization’s cultural norms.

At Adfero, we’ve challenged ourselves to increase transparency across accounts, particularly those dealing with large, complex and time sensitive ad buys. As with most worthwhile efforts, it’s a work in progress, but initial results are promising. Calls and meetings are more exciting. Teammates are engaging in new and deeper ways. And most importantly, campaign performance is improving and clients are happy.

Ads Live Now: Illustration of ad campaign live tracker, showing a mobile phone displaying a series of tweets and facebook posts

Recently, this pursuit of transparency spurred a new product, brought to life by Adfero’s in-house dev team. We created the Live Ad Tracker (a working title) to solve a challenge for a large trade association client that needed a clear line of sight across all advertising at any given time. The Live Ad Tracker provides a simple solution: dashboards of live ad screenshots and links, all sortable by channel, campaign and audience.

Now the client team, and their internal stakeholders on media and government relations team, have a clear window into what’s going out over the brand’s ad channels. They’re able to see the paid media landscape in real time, which is critical when shifting media cycles and events on the Hill dictate frequent pivots in messaging and outreach strategy.  

As Adfero begins a new year and new projects, we’re looking for more ways to weave transparency into everything we do. This will include new features for the Live Ad Tracker, but also new approaches to collaborating with clients. We’ll be chartering our Adfero-client teams for maximum transparency starting on day one, and, if we’re true to our word, openly sharing what we learn along the way.