ANA calls for independent audits of ads in the ‘walled gardens’

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All “walled gardens” need some windows.

That’s the essential message from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which today issued a call for independent audits in the “walled garden” advertising platforms of Amazon, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter.

Facebook, Instagram and Google’s YouTube are not on the list, because they committed last month to independent audits by the Media Rating Council, which would also conduct the audits requested by the ANA.

ANA issued the call following a survey of its 89 member organizations, with nearly 90 percent supporting the Facebook/Instagram and YouTube commitments as “very positive” or “moderately positive.”

As defined by the ANA, a walled garden is “a platform where the carrier or service provider has control over applications, content, and media, and restricts convenient access to non-approved applications or content.”

Transparency has become a huge issue in the digital advertising industry, which is beset by complex technology and transactions that are often conducted inside hidden environments. Facebook and Twitter, for instance, have acknowledged erroneous advertising reports.

ANA noted that members’ reasons included the need for metrics to be validated by a third party and not be self-reported, and the need to develop some consistency in metrics across platforms.

About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.


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