At Advertising Week in New York, there were several events focusing on anti-fraud issues, including a discussion on the emerging focus on assuring “viewable” impressions. At another session, Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission spoke about her concerns about consumer choice and control in digital advertising, and issues relating to the accumulation of sensitive information by data brokers who have no direct relationship with consumers.

In early November, the IAB announced that Linda Woolley was named president and CEO of TAG, the joint marketing-media industry program to eradicate digital advertising fraud, malware, ad-supported piracy and other deficiencies in the digital communications supply chain.

The industry is at a cross roads: consumers get more and more information online and through mobile, yet distrust “creepy” data tracking. Content creators, who have valuable premium audiences, need to develop greater expertise in monetizing these audiences, in ways consumers trust and approve. In addition, the reliance on CPM pricing in an interactive medium creates room for uncertainty, as website owners seek to monetize every visitor, but advertisers worry that some traffic may be unreliable, unviewable – or worse.

One small aspect of improving the ecosystem will include empowering publishers to better control and monetize their audiences, by understanding and controlling the data that is used to drive digital advertising. Currently, do publishers really know who is tracking its audiences? What items are being tracked? In many cases, the publisher does not know. In today’s market, the publisher may think it is merely delivering an ad impression at a CPM rate – but it is also providing an opportunity for audience data to be shared, a valuable part of the exchange that gets little attention. And data can be shared equally with valuable business partners, as well as entities more interested in “cookie licking” than paying for an ad impression.

At Mezzobit we believe that the audience is the content creator’s most valuable asset – and there is a need for a tool set to understand – and control – what is happening with that audience at all times. A more transparent interplay between publishers, advertisers and ad tech providers will improve consumer trust in their online experiences – and ultimately benefit online publishers and advertisers – and their audiences.