Transparency: New reports on Google and Amazon's advertising platforms

The introduction of these transparency reports by Google and Amazon can be seen as a direct response to the upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Price Transparency Reports
Price Transparency Reports

This month, new transparency reports were introduced in Google Ads, DV360, Google Ad Manager, AdSense, AdMob, and Amazon DSP. The introduction of these transparency reports by Google and Amazon can be seen as a direct response to the upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA), a legislative act by the European Union aiming to create a fairer and more competitive digital market.

While not explicitly mandating a specific solution, the DMA encourages increased transparency across the digital advertising ecosystem. This includes measures that make clear how ad pricing is determined, how revenue is distributed between stakeholders, and how fees are structured.

The digital advertising landscape is undeniably complex, with intricate interactions between advertisers, publishers, and numerous intermediaries. Historically, a lack of transparency has fueled questions within the industry regarding pricing, fees, and the distribution of advertising revenue.

Google and Amazon aim to address these concerns with advanced transparency settings designed to illuminate the often-murky pathways of ad spend.

Google Ads Manager, AdMob, Adsense (Google Publisher Ad platforms) have enhanced transparency for publishers operating within the European Economic Area (EEA). Let's dissect the key features:

  • Price Data File:
    • EEA publishers now have the ability to access and download a daily CSV (comma-separated value) file containing granular pricing data for their billable ads served to EEA end users.
    • This file provides insights into how much publishers were paid per billable ad, along with associated fees incurred.
    • Publishers must explicitly request access to this feature. Upon opting in, data may take up to 48 hours to become available.
    • Data is stored for a minimum of 60 days, with no report generated for days without EEA traffic. After 90 days of inactivity, publishers will need to re-enable access.
  • Price Data Sharing (Optional):
    • Publishers can consent to share their event-level price data with the advertisers buying their ad space. By default, this is not enabled.
    • If enabled, EEA advertisers will see the exact amount paid to the publisher for each billable ad. Should a publisher decline sharing, their data will be aggregated with other publishers serving a given advertiser.
    • Sharing publisher-side price data requires Administrator user role permissions within AdMob.
  • CSV File Contents and Caveats:
    • The file includes EEA-billable events only.
    • Unadjusted invalid traffic figures may be present due to daily generation.
    • Discrepancies may exist compared to other account data sources due to rounding, currency conversions, billing adjustments, and delayed event signals.

DV360: Unveiling Media Costs with the Cost Transparency Report

DV360 now offers a tool for buyers to dissect media costs and ensure fair pricing:

  • How it Works:
    • Buyers execute a Cost Transparency report filtered by a specific seller ID, breaking down aggregate media costs by that seller.
    • Sellers with confirmed gross revenue capabilities can generate reports from their supply-side platform (SSP) using the same time zone, currency, and date range but filtering by Display & Video 360 insertion order IDs.
    • These reports are then compared to identify discrepancies, revealing potential hidden fees.

Amazon DSP unveils Pricing Transparency: A Closer Look at the New Report

Amazon has bolstered its commitment to transparency within the digital advertising landscape by introducing a new pricing transparency report for its Demand-Side Platform (DSP).

This development, spurred by the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), aims to shed light on the often-complex cost structures involved in third-party programmatic ad buying.

What's Included in the Report

Amazon DSP's pricing transparency report offers EU advertisers and publishers a breakdown of key data points for ads served within the EU:

  • Publisher Earnings: The revenue a publisher receives for displaying an ad.
  • Supply-side Fees: Fees charged by supply-side platforms (SSPs) that facilitate the sale of publisher inventory.
  • Demand-side Fees: Platform fees charged by Amazon DSP.
  • Total Advertiser Cost: The total amount an advertiser pays for an ad.
  • Impressions: The number of times an ad is displayed.
  • Click-throughs: The number of times an ad is clicked.
  • Viewable Impressions: Impressions registered as viewable per industry standards.

Key Points for Advertisers and Publishers

  • Scope: Transparency data is only available for ads served within the EU where a billable event (impression or click) occurred.
  • Time Zone: The report uses UTC, which may differ from other Amazon DSP reports.
  • Customization: The report is generated as a custom report within the Amazon DSP interface.
  • Availability: Data is available from March 6, 2024, onward for a maximum of 30 days.
  • Data Sharing: Both advertisers and publishers can choose whether to disclose their fee data or be included in aggregated metrics. If advertisers opt out, they will appear as "Undisclosed" in the report.

How to Use the Report

  1. Access and Generate: Navigate to "Measurement and Reporting" in your Amazon DSP instance and create a "New Custom Report." Select "Pricing Transparency" under dimensions. Configure the report specifications and click "Run."
  2. Verify Costs and Revenue: For publishers, compare your earnings to the total advertiser cost, minus supply-side and demand-side fees. This should reveal any potential hidden fees.
  3. Identify Pricing Models: The report may illuminate varying pricing models used in programmatic transactions (e.g., some transactions may have zero supply-side or demand-side fees due to pre-negotiated agreements).

Limitations and Considerations

  • Discrepancies: Allow for minor discrepancies (up to 3%) due to impression counting differences, currency conversions, and adjustments associated with invalid traffic detection.
  • DMA Compliance: This feature demonstrates Amazon's move towards aligning with the DMA's push for increased transparency in the digital advertising marketplace.
  • Not All Publishers Represented: The report may not include data for all publishers, especially independent publishers that don't use an Amazon-integrated SSP (Supply-Side Platform).

Implications

Amazon's pricing transparency report offers several potential benefits for the digital advertising ecosystem:

  • Informed Decision-Making: Both advertisers and publishers receive the data they need to make strategic choices regarding ad spending and inventory management.
  • Fair Compensation: Publishers gain greater insight into their revenue, potentially empowering them to negotiate fairer deals.
  • Promoting Accountability: Opaque pricing practices and hidden fees become harder to conceal when advertisers and publishers can compare costs and revenue streams.

The Future of Transparency

Amazon's new transparency report marks a significant step towards a more equitable and open digital advertising environment. These initiatives, driven by regulations like the DMA, signal a shift towards a landscape where advertisers and publishers alike have the granular insights they need to thrive.

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