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Advertising in a brand-safe environment positively impacts a number of areas ranging from audience quality to brand equity, brand lift, and ROI, according to the vast majority of digital and mobile advertisers surveyed by Trusted Media Brands and Advertiser Perceptions [pdf].

Previous research from Trusted Media Brands had found that digital media buyers admitted difficulties in ensuring brand-safety when buying programmatically – and those worries could be translating into action. New data from MediaRadar in fact shows that the number of brands running programmatic ads this year has actually slipped from last year, as large companies such as P&G and Unilever cut back on the number of brands advertising programmatically.

Nevertheless, concerns with brand safety take a backseat to other issues for digital media buyers. In this latest survey, respondent were asked to rank their top-3 concerns from a list of 6 identified. ROI took the top spot, with 31% choosing it as their number 1 concern when it comes to digital media buying, and 59% placing it among their top-3 concerns.

Ad fraud received the next-largest share of votes for the top concern (19%), whereas viewability ranked second in terms of the proportion of top-3 votes (54%).

While just 7% ranked brand safety / premium content their leading concern, a slight majority (51%) placed it within their top 3. In the aggregate, then, this appears to be a bigger issue for digital media buyers than programmatic transparency and ad blocking.

Buyers Are Paying Closer Attention

The majority (56%) of respondents involved in digital and mobile advertising agreed that they’ve taken deliberate efforts to improve the brand safety of their digital media buys, and more than one-third (35%) haven’t yet done so but plan to in the future.

The most common steps taken include blacklisting specific sites/channels (56%), monitoring/auditing site lists (54%) and avoiding or limiting political content and sites (54%).

While fewer (40%) have increased their use of programmatic guaranteed / private marketplaces, another 41% plan to do so in the future.

Just one-third (34%) rate Facebook highly (top-3 box on a 10-point scale) on its ability to offer a brand-safe environment, but even that is a higher level than observed among other social platforms. Indeed, only 1 in 4 give YouTube (27%), Twitter (26%) and Snapchat (25%) a comparable rating on their ability to deliver a brand-safe environment.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 287 digital decision-makers involved in digital and mobile advertising from the Advertiser Perceptions Omnibus panel.

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