Across the river from the iconic Elizabeth Tower (more affectionately known as Big Ben), digital publishers in both the B2B and B2C sectors congregated at the annual AOP Digital Publishing Summit. Attendees were looking for insight into the future of the digital publishing industry, and of the many themes discussed throughout the day, two struck a chord with us: Accountability and Trust.
Accountability through Publishers Lens
The first speaker of the day was Richard Reeves, Managing Director of the AOP. In his keynote, he quoted Helen Keller:
‘Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.’
It’s a sentiment IX firmly believes in as well. Accountability is incredibly important for the future of our industry, and it’s up to every single stakeholder in the ecosystem to achieve a higher standard here — no individual organisation can accomplish this alone.
On our end, we’ve ensured accountability is captured in our products in a number of ways, including making log-level data available to buyers and sellers through our Client Audit Logs. This provides the ultimate accountability — boosting transparency across the supply chain while also ensuring all parties can trust their data is being managed with caution and care. That said, the impact of such a product would be multiplied ten-fold if more parties demanded this level of accountability from their partners. Together, we could bring this same degree of transparency to the entire ecosystem; we could do so much more.
Restoration of Trust
Despite Reeves’ unifying keynote, questions continued to swirl about who should be responsible for restoring trust in our industry. All agreed that this is a challenging time for our industry, but it wasn’t clear who, or how, we should be communicating the value exchange between advertising and content to consumers — an exchange that’s no doubt been distorted in recent years, thus limiting trust in our ecosystem.
This restoration of trust was the focal point of writer Sen Pillot de Chenecy’s presentation. Author of The Post Truth Business, de Chenecy explained that ‘Just because it’s trending doesn’t mean it’s true,’ reminding attendees that we are in the business of delivering truth to consumers, not simply developing click-worthy content. Trust must seep into every aspect of our industry — from the technology used to deliver ads to the quality of the news provided.
Again, from our end, we’re working to restore this trust by prioritising the end-user as we build each and every one of our products — placing consumer trust at the forefront of our strategy. Project Blackbird, a new framework for offering federated, cross-platform opt-out controls for consumers, is one such example. And we feel the importance of working together applies to addressing this challenge as well.
With this in mind, we felt hopeful as the conference came to a close. Although there is a lot of work ahead, and difficult conversations to be had, we found solace in the knowledge that the various players in our industry want to work in tandem. Cheers to the future.