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Advertisers are almost unanimous in their concern with their ads appearing in brand safe environments, and the majority (58%) are more concerned this year than last with brand safety. That’s according to Oath, which surveyed 304 US advertising decision-makers on the topic.

For the time being, tech platforms appear to be doing a good job of addressing advertisers’ worries, as 7 in 10 agree that DSPs and exchanges are addressing these concerns.

Advertisers are less sure about other media partners, though. While 51% feel that social media platforms are doing a good job, almost as many (45%) believe they’re doing a poor job. Likewise, although a majority (54%) feel that user-generated content sites are addressing their concerns, a sizable 42% don’t believe these sites are doing so.

Recent research confirms that social media sites have suffered from brand safety concerns. A report from Advertiser Perceptions indicates that social media sites have fallen in quality perception among digital video advertisers, for whom brands safety is “top of mind.” Moreover, earlier research from Trusted Media Brands (TMB) indicates that while video advertisers see the benefit of social’s audience targeting capabilities and engagement, they rate premium publisher sites more highly for brand safety.

Advertisers are continuing to exhibit concerns with brand safety as study data suggests that such risks are on the rise. This is a particularly important issue for programmatic buys, as brand safety risk is higher for programmatic than publisher direct buys across desktop display and video, as well as for mobile display and video.

As such, virtually all (97%) respondents to the Oath survey say they’re planning some actions to change their programmatic buying strategies to address brand safety.

The most common actions are:

  • Putting pressure on their partners to screen for brand safety (50%);
  • Implementing third-party technologies (47%);
  • Moving spend to well-regarded premium publishers (45%); and
  • Using blacklists with programmatic partners (44%).

It seems that many of these actions will be necessary, considering that digital media buyers have admitted difficulties in ensuring brand-safety when buying programmatically

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