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How the Alliance for Audited Media is supporting publishers in times of change


From the impact of coronavirus to monetizing and growing digital to the challenges of digital ad fraud, news media publishers are constantly innovating to stay ahead of ever-changing world events and industry challenges.

The Alliance for Audited Media has created tools to help publishers innovate, grow and stand out for their commitment to quality and transparency and connect with media buyers. Here is an overview of several recent AAM initiatives to help publishers do so.

Creating a simplified, efficient audit

Our mission at AAM is to help publishers and buyers transact with trust and confidence. We want to make the audit process as efficient as possible for publishers while ensuring our audit practices, reports and data reflect current market conditions. After consulting with industry leaders and AAM’s board of directors, we introduced an initiative to streamline reporting, simplify rules and recordkeeping requirements, and modernize the audit in 2020.

Now that the updated process has been in the market for over a year, publishers are seeing the benefits, including spreading the audit work over a longer period to provide flexibility and help publishers save time, reducing full data filing to twice a year and updating digital edition qualifications to better align with how news media companies are offering digital to their readers.

“AAM heard the feedback from the industry and responded by streamlining the statement and changing how copies are counted,” said Gwen Maass, vice president of media services at Quad and a director of AAM’s board. “That type of responsive action sets the stage for the future where flexibility is going to be the norm.”

Connecting publisher data to media buyers

In addition to the audit, AAM works to distribute publisher data to advertisers and agencies that invest in news media. AAM’s Media Intelligence Center gives media buyers access to nearly 1,750 premium publishers in the U.S. and Canada and includes many useful tools and reports. AAM Brand View is another tool for publishers to create their own profiles within the Media Intelligence Center to share videos, images and company information alongside AAM-verified data.

“AAM Brand View is one of our story books. It provides a dynamic one-stop shop for advertisers to see our entire portfolio and distribution footprint,” said Heather Williams, head of plus audience and revenue for McClatchy and AAM board director. “It also helps our staff easily access data and analytics for individual markets in one location.”

Standing out in the digital ecosystem

In December 2020, AAM launched the Digital Publisher Audit with the support of the Association of National Advertisers. The objectives of the audit are to separate the good publishers from all other websites running advertising and ensure those publishers have human audiences.

Audited publishers are included on the AAM Audited Domain List, which is integrated into the digital supply chain through a collaboration with the IAB Tech Lab.

AAM recently joined other industry groups taking part in Trust.txt, a program developed by non-profit organization JournalList to provide a collective signal of trust to help quality publishers stand out in a crowded digital market. All AAM-audited publishers are included on AAM’s file, and we encourage publishers to create their own Trust.txt file. It’s an easy way for advertisers, tech platforms and search engines like Google to make connections between legitimate publishers and trusted industry organizations.

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