Digital advertising has given marketers more opportunities to reach and target the right consumers with brand communications and content, but with it comes challenges around brand safety, ad fraud and transparency.

Speaking on a panel about the ‘digital gold rush’ at ISBA’s annual conference, Keith Moor, chief marketing officer at Santander, said the fact the industry is still talking about these issues is a problem in itself and that advertisers need to “get actively involved”.

Moor believes brands should be more active “in the groups that have been put together” to try and tackle these issues. He said: “We need to get more literate about this, not just individuals but teams of people, because this is the future. It’s not going to change.”

He added “every new opportunity that comes along brings with it issues of measurement” and that the issues arising in digital are no different to the banking industry, which is also subject to fraud and scam.

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Marc Pritchard.

Martin Bromfield, comScore

He said: “The [banking] industry has taken it upon themselves to address that and that is what advertisers need to do in this context – we need to move forward a bit quicker.”

Martin Bromfield, EMEA vice-president of advertising at comScore, joined Moor on the panel and said these issues will move on within the next year. He cited the speech by P&G’s Marc Pritchard calling out bad practice in digital advertising as a game changer.

READ MORE: Ritson – P&G’s Marc Pritchard has made the biggest marketing speech for 20 years

He said: “We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Marc Pritchard. Not for coming out with anything that was particularly new – in fact it was blindingly obvious and we have been thinking about it for years – but the very fact that it’s come from such a powerful figure holds a tremendous amount of weight.”

Bromfield believes the industry is entering a “transparency phase of digital” and said people “will look back at that speech as that seminal moment when things changed”. He added: “It’s going to be different when we sit here in a year’s time.”

Why brands need to get educated on digital

Christian Armond, ‎head of digital marketing at TUI, agreed with Moor and Bromfield during the debate and said education will play the biggest part in tackling the issues.

“A lot of people rushed into digital and they are [now] trying to catch up their knowledge,” he said, adding that advertisers have “relied on [their] partners and agencies” for too long. As brands become more educated he said they “can ask more questions and shine a light on it”.

On programmatic, Armond said advertisers think about “what [they] can do with it, without thinking about what [they] should do with it”.

READ MORE: 90% of advertisers looking to change how they buy programmatic ads

Bromfield told the audience that it’s “an incredibly complex digital ecosystem” to work in “even for those whose day job is digital”. He said: “They don’t quite get all of it either so there’s no disgrace in not getting what it’s about.” He warned that it does “allow people to be devious through that supply chain” and said “that is exactly what is happening” at the moment.

A lot of people rushed into digital and they are [now] trying to catch up their knowledge.

Christian Armond, ‎TUI

But this hasn’t led to Santander backing away from digital. Moor told the audience that almost 90% of its digital spend is in programmatic but that it also starts with the customer so it doesn’t lose sight of the customer agenda in favour of focusing on technology.

Moor said he looks at “what role digital plays in their journey”. He added: “That is much more important to me when I am deciding what I should do – programmatic is the mechanism we deliver it by but sometimes you need to take a few steps back and think [of the] role digital plays in a customer’s life.”