When we look at the digital world, it might seem fairly obvious where the power resides: up at the top, among the Googles, the Facebooks, the Amazons. Companies like these shape the environment in which they operate, call the tune for the rest of us to dance to and often seem to answer to no-one.
But there remains a higher power, and that is the consumer. More specifically, it is their trust. If we all suddenly and collectively lost our trust in these giants – in Google’s capacity to serve the most useful search results; in Amazon’s ability to stock everything we want and deliver it tomorrow; in Facebook’s knack of feeding us unerringly diverting bits of content – none of them would last long.
They all know it, too. Take Amazon and its relentless drive to perfect the art of e-commerce customer service, or Facebook and its call for “new rules for the internet”. Take Google and its decision to abandon third-party cookies in the name of privacy. All of them recognize that consumer trust is a fragile thing, easily lost or carelessly broken, and they want to be counted, however optimistically, among the good guys.
Where digital advertising is concerned, we all make our own contribution to the reservoir of trust. We all need to ensure our ads aren’t intrusive or annoying, our data policies aren’t outrageous, our technology isn’t disruptive or cumbersome. We all benefit when consumers feel they can trust us, and we all suffer when they don’t.
The trust dynamic is vitally important, and it plays out across the entire digital ecosystem, from consumers to clients. In our native Denmark, our technology, which allows publishers to offer high-impact ad formats that are better and bigger than standard display varieties, is live on 10,000 sites. The scale of our growth owes itself to publishers’ belief in us: they trust us to plug in our platform without disrupting their architecture. Needless to say, they too have customers they can’t afford to let down.
As we expand into the UK, Sweden, and across Europe, that trust is the crucial commodity we find we need to generate. Smaller publishers are generally a little bit quicker to give it to you – their sites are more straightforward, the revenue appeal of premium ad formats perhaps more pressing. Larger publishers are, very understandably, rather more cautious. They have complex architecture, often built in-house, and they aren’t going to jeopardize its stability by introducing some unknown script. Their trust is deservedly harder to win.
The clients who already know us know they can trust us not to break things. For those who don’t, we offer many kinds of reassurance: different levels of certification, careful testing and verification to prove that when our platform is live, all they get is high-impact ads, not headaches or breakdowns.
As we expand, we know we can only do so on a wave of trust. In turn, every digital ad market we enter has its own carefully managed trust issues. Drop the ball, miss the deadline, break the contract, and there goes the trust. From privacy to user experience to the nuts and bolts of ad-serving, trust is everything, and no-one, from the very biggest players downwards, is exempt from the consequences of violating it.