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When Is Transparency Not Transparent?

February 25, 2021

Finding the Smoking Gun

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Suits (or pretty much any legal show) you’ll have seen an occurrence in the legal world of something called “discovery. Discovery is when one, or both, sides request all documentation in relation to their dealings with each other.  That means, every email,  letterinternal memo,  contract, and call log in relation to their dealings with each other must be produced and sent to the other side. What often happens in these legal situations is the side requesting discovery received hundreds of cardboard boxes with loose leaf papers, often unstructured and now coherent organisation. The side that has produced this can claim they have complied and have produced every shred of detail, and now it’s up to the side that’s received this to painstakingly go through these documents in order to get what they’re really looking for. 

This isn’t transparency, but a way to put massive amounts of work on to the other side and make them responsible for finding the smoking gun or needle in a haystack. The adtech supply chain and transparency can be exactly the same, just in a digital file format. 

Taking the Burden off the Buyer  

As an industry, we spend a lot of time talking (and shouting) about transparency, but the reality is that for buyersreviewing all of this data can be an onerous task. You try wading your way through a csv file with 200 million rows of data trying to find where your advertising dollars flowed through. 

At EMX, we are committed to transparency and we remove the barriers to make it simple for our clients and partners to have the visibility and clarity on where their media spend ran. We are able to easily format the files into a much easier to read and understand format due to the way in which we can deliver a single flat fee take-rate, allowing for anomalies to be spotted either through scrolling through or simple ctrl + f. 

So, now that you – the buyer are armed with this log level data, how do you make it digestable and actionable and gain real business intelligence?  At EMX, we’ve taken a step further and created real-time log level visualization tools to deliver on the promise of transparency by eliminating the burden of the buyer to sift through logs of data and gain real-time insights to help you manage your media investment. 

Real Transparency = Trust  

Being presented with all the logs from the auction only goes so far in creating the transparency you want, so being able to slice, dice, and delve into what’s really going into your supply chain is the real goal. Being able to do this in near real time is the real revelation – just ask the guys at PWC how many hours went in to their 2020 ISBA report in order to try and figure out what’s going on. 

Being able to know you’re not being ripped off or lied to by companies that have reps smiling and being nice to you, gives you trust. Being able to see how you can bid better, and ensure you win more of the impressions you really want, and seeing how you’ve previously lost those auctions make your buying far more intelligent and then actually positively impacts your ROI. 

If you’re not getting the transparency that actually makes the difference, are you simply following a check-box exercise to please clients and those around you? Are you not even getting the logs because you feel that getting them is too overwhelming and you don’t have the resource to go through it all so what’s the point? At EMX, we deliver a clean, pristine, low cost, and direct supply path to the quality publishers that brands desire and with a fully transparent auction, and all with the logs in such a way that you can make better buying decisions, and we are here to help you navigate this. 


Written by Jon Walsh, SVP of Strategy, Europe, at EMX.