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Guest Post: Transparency is Critical for Digital Notice Programs

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Guest Post: Transparency is Critical for Digital Notice Programs

Guest Post by Jeanne Finegan, APR, President, Chief Media Officer at Heffler Media LLC, a division of Heffler Claims Group

Advertising growth in digital media and multimedia channels has created a more challenging environment for digital class action settlement notice programs, which must now account for complex factors such as consumer distraction, cookie deletion, visibility and non-human traffic.

These complexities impact response rates, brand reputation, due process and, ultimately, the success of the settlement. As a result, transparency has become a critical component of digital notice programs.

Defining Transparency

Notice providers should disclose which internet properties they are buying to advertise the settlement to class members. Would you accept a notice program that didn’t disclose or provide proof of publication for the magazine titles or television networks used?

It is imperative to be transparent about where ads are running, as placements on toxic websites could spell disaster for the settling business. A New York Times article details how several major brands and a leading university were faced with the issue of ads appearing on hate and porn sites through programmatic ad buys.

Digital notice programs use programmatic ad buys—the term programmatic refers to an online media buying approach that is automated via computer software—to provide efficiencies. However, programmatic media buying tends to require little human supervision, making it easy for an administrator to adopt the simple approach of buying impressions and walking away until the end of the program.

But when networks are not disclosed, and only bulk impressions of programmatic ad buys are provided, the most important step of the digital notice program’s success is missed—measurement.

To ensure an accurate digital notice program, you need to measure what you are buying up front and acquire proof of performance from the online networks. Without measurement and proof, settling businesses cannot demonstrate reach, including where the ads truly appeared or whether humans actually viewed them. For example, transparency and measurement can show if ads were served:

  • Across a limited number of sites, which would affect response rate
  • Off hours, such as 2-5 a.m. when bots are lurking
  • On undesirable sites

Digital Notice Program Tips

How can you ensure transparency is built into your digital notice programs?

  • Demand third-party digital media measurement validation from comScore. Without it, you could greatly overstate your reach.
  • Look for a list of vetted and approved networks or sites for your campaign, and inquire about ad blocking for potentially toxic sites.
  • Ask for proof of publication. Notice providers should provide a list of web networks and properties, as well as screen shots with ads in situ as proof of publication. At HF Media, we habitually request this information from our network partners.

To learn more about transparency in digital notice programs, read my article, “What’s in Store for 2017 Notice?