Trust Issues: Is the Agency/Client Model Doomed?

Marketing agencies say trust is disappearing in their client relationships, and the worst offenders are client CEOs.

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Trust Issues: Is the Agency/Client Model Doomed?

Marketing agencies say trust is disappearing in their client relationships, and the worst offenders are client CEOs.

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AGENCIES • Are Trusted Client Relationships Dying?

Some new research is shining a light on the growing tensions between marketing agencies and their clients — and those strains are denting the quality of creative work.

The Lions State of Creativity's fourth annual survey [PDF] polled 3,000 marketers and creatives, and found nearly half (45%) of agencies describe their client relationships as "difficult.”

Clients, on the other hand, seem less troubled by the partnership dynamics, with 32% saying they find the relationship "easy" and only 37% acknowledging difficulties.

The root of the friction appears to be creatives feeling undervalued, seen merely as "extra hands" rather than strategic partners.

“Clients consider us contractors, not partners.”

Creative Director, Romania

The agency is not seen as a partner, rather a maker that only exists to do what they are told, leaving no room for experimentation, feedback or even bold ideas to be executed.

Creative Director, Equador

Plus, some agencies don’t feel aligned with clients' other external partners, and want more of a say in choosing these collaborators.

And client CEOs were specifically called out, with many agencies in the study saying that despite talking a good talk about wanting to take risks, at the end of the day, CEOs opt for the “safe” route.

We’re open to new ways of showing our products to our potential and real customers. But sometimes our CEO wants our department to lower the level of creativity and use more common patterns.

Brand Manager, Ukraine
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RETAIL • Google’s New Beta Test Promise Self-Serve

Google Search Ads 360 has launched a closed beta that is aimed at bricks-and-mortar stores.

The beta has some new options for offsite retail media campaigns. Specifically:

  • What they call “a privacy-centric” way for participating retailers to let brands use their first-party data as a source for Performance Max campaigns.

  • It’s also testing more self-service options in this category.

  • They’re improving reporting with “closed-loop reporting at the brand, campaign or SKU level.” Closed-loop reporting lets brands directly tie ad spend to sales at the individual product level.

Lowe’s is one of their early beta partners. Apparently they’re starting that testing today, so it could be a while before it filters down to the rest of us.

For now, that testing is still being done as a managed service (i.e., a Google rep has to plug in the pieces) but they say they’re hoping that promised self-serve option won’t be too far behind.

If you want to be part of this beta and have a Google rep, the company recommends you reach out to them to get on the list. They say they’ll be expanding the beta to other countries over the coming months.

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MEDIA BUYING • Disney + Google Display & Video

Another Google ad announcement — they’re launching a direct integration between Display & Video 360 and Disney’s Real-time Ad Exchange (DRAX).

Google says this will let marketers reach audiences across Disney's properties “at more meaningful moments with great speed and accuracy.”

Google and Disney have been involved in partnerships for more than 10 years now, in one way or another.

So Disney's inventory will now be bookable by all Display & Video 360 advertisers. They have also expanded addressability with Google audience segments widely available across Disney’s portfolio.

Beginning in April, Display & Video 360 will be one of the first demand-side platforms (DSPs) to integrate with DRAX, creating a foundation to streamline premium inventory for marketers across the industry. Among other benefits, it will enable advertisers to re-engage their audiences on Disney’s inventory using Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR) with Disney’s Audience Graph as the source.

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MEDIA BUYING • Penske to Sell Vox Media in Canada

Penske Media, known as PMC, which owns sites like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, announced today it will be the exclusive seller of Vox Media‘s advertising inventory in Canada.

This agreement was inked about two weeks ago and will let PMC sell the entire Vox Media portfolio. Vox Media will still manage its programmatic and branded content.

The partnership comes one year after PMC invested $100 million in Vox Media in February 2023 for a 20% stake in the company, but it does not signal any change in the two companies’ relationship…

PMC will charge a fee to do this, though they wouldn’t say what that fee was. It might be pretty high. AdWeek says traditionally fees for similar arrangements are between 25% and 40%.

Comscore numbers say this partnership now makes the two groups the second-largest source of digital media inventory in Canada.

YOUTUBE • Users Can Suggest Caption Changes

YouTube is planning to outsource the captions on your brand’s videos to the general public.

I know, what could go wrong??

Actually, probably not much.

This is going to be a crowd-sourcing thing to let people flag mistakes made by the auto-generated captions. It’ll take some upvoting by multiple people to make a caption change. And even then, they won’t change anything.

This test will roll out on a small percentage of EN-language channels with auto-generated captions enabled.

During the experiment, suggested corrections to the captions track will not be automatically merged into the video for viewers, but creators whose captions receive suggested corrections will be able to view these suggestions in the transcript panel.

YOUTUBE • Soon, You’ll Have Retention Segments

YouTube is also working on letting channel managers segment their retention data.

Right now, you can see how long your content has retained its audience through its play-time, but there’s no way to see the difference in retention between your subscribers, random people, and so on.

Some screenshots circulating on social media today show an update apparently being tested, which will let you analyze viewer retention by:

  • Subscribers and non-subscribers

  • New and returning viewers

  • Organic and paid traffic

This is actually really valuable data.

YouTube says they expect to roll it out more fully soon.

This feature joins a whack of other data points YouTube has added, including:

Also, its long-awaited thumbnail A/B testing tool should be coming in the next few months as well.

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