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They drink but you still can’t trust them

ADVERTISING WEEK, an annual stretch of industry meetings that began on September 26th in New York, is usually defined by schmoozing and self-congratulation. This year’s event has been marred by suspicion. In the week leading up to it, Dentsu Aegis, a big agency, admitted overbilling by its digital-ad division in Japan; and Facebook, a tech giant, said it had inflated the average time people spent watching video ads.

Such revelations have reinforced existing concerns among advertisers that they are having the wool pulled over their eyes when it comes to online advertisements. At an Advertising Week panel on “trust” on September 28th, Bob Liodice, the chief executive of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), spoke of broad doubts among his members.

It was not meant to be like this. Half of an advertiser’s budget is wasted, says the industry’s favourite truism, but no one knows which half. Digital ads were supposed to help. Cookies and other tags would direct the right advertisements to the right people, based on their activity online. Digital tools would…Continue reading

This post was originally published in the Economist.

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