News & Opinion

Hamish Nicklin: "It's time for an industry-wide agreement on a set of programmatic standards"

Writing in Campaign in the wake of The Times' front page splashes on digital ads, the Guardian's chief revenue officer says it's time for a "clean and fair system that adds value proportionally to contribution".

When it comes to programmatic advertising, "we are at a watershed moment that should jolt us into action" writes Nicklin in this week's magazine.

The Times' revelations that brands' ads have unintentionally appeared on terrorist, extremist and porn sites, have "raised the stakes" according to Nicklin, who says: "We are beyond an ineffective ad campaign that wastes company money – we have moved into dangerous territory."

"We must stop patting ourselves on the back about how efficiently we can target individual users and start taking responsibility for the environment that we’re building" he continues, citing an industry-wide agreement on programmatic standards as the way forward.  

"We at the Guardian have previously called for a new programmatic scorecard that treats quality journalism and societal influence according to our value to the internet ecology" explains Nicklin, adding that "the equivalence given to quality and clickbait isn't good for anyone – advertiser, customer, media planner or publisher".

Rounding up the piece, Nicklin writes: "Let's treat this crisis as a wake-up call for advertisers with decent values at their core to realise that they need to pay more for quality and for publishers to recognise they need to pay more for better tech."

In her weekly column, Campaign's Maisie McCabe agrees, describing The Times' revelations as "a timely call to brands, agencies and publishers to resolve the problems of programmatic once and for all."

Read the full artilce here.  

by Jessie Sampson 16/02/17

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