Jordan Khoo
Sep 16, 2019

Navigating a safer road to brand advertising online

68% of adults say it matters to them where they see a brand’s ad/content.

Navigating a safer road to brand advertising online

The Internet, for all its wonders, can be a dangerous place for brands; one mistake can result in a potentially disastrous hit to brand reputation.

The list of worst-case scenarios includes brands that advertise, inadvertently, against content that is politically or culturally offensive or controversial, or on a website that publishes distasteful content. An advertiser outed for investing in a media site that publishes unsavoury material risks eroding consumer trust and loyalty.

Clearly, no brand wants their digital ads to run in the gutter press. They want their commercial messages to be seen by real people, and for those consumers to be in a positive, engaged frame of mind when they view a brand message. A survey conducted earlier this year by Harris Poll and DoubleVerify - the leading independent platform for digital media measurement software and analytics - 82% of adults say it is important that a brand’s ads appear on content that is safe, accurate and trustworthy. Unsafe content will negatively impact their perception of the brand – often with material commercial implications.

The only way to guarantee safe placement is to implement a complete package of ad verification and media measurement. Third-party measurement and objective reporting has become a necessity for advertisers who are serious about protecting the quality of their digital advertising.

Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, platforms onto which the eyes of the world are permanently locked, have all opened themselves up to this objective reporting on digital media quality, and ultimately, brand performance. They’ve taken initial steps towards transparency, but advertisers continue to demand more. As an advertising  authentication firm, DoubleVerify expects their relationships with these platforms to deepen – giving advertisers the ability to consistently measure quality at all levels across every platform advertisers buy media.

The challenges for advertisers keeping their brands safe go beyond the avoidance of offensive content. Other complex issues like ad fraud and viewability have grown more sophisticated and complex: from the proliferation of fake news and fraud’s rise on mobile to transparency across social media, issues in media quality have continued to rapidly evolve.

In Cannes earlier this year, we found that ‘brand safety’ was a top three priority for several CMOs and Chief Digital Officers that we talked to. As Keith Weed, the CMCO of Unilever put it: “A brand without trust is just a product, and products are routinely commoditized.” 

CMOs are now equating compromised brand safety and trust with product defects and recalls in terms of how serious their impact can be. “It strikes at the heart of a brand’s reputation,” says Bob Rupczynski, global CDO of McDonald’s.

In order to shape and achieve a sustainable connected marketing industry, we must increase trust and safety for consumers as well as building confidence for marketers in the media and on the platforms we all use. Only then will we build a lasting ecosystem that truly delivers on its promise.

Our personal mission to contribute to this movement is to power a new standard of marketing performance through the “Authentic Impression.” DV’s Authentic Impression is a proprietary, Media Ratings Council-accredited metric that assures both media quality and media effectiveness.

To be counted as Authentic, an ad must be fully viewed, by a real person, in a brand-safe environment. We’re now seeing brand safety, digital ad fraud and the need for a viewable measurement as a critical component of evaluating the performance of every impression a brand bids on. 

Because brands want confidence and clarity in their investments, we aim to create a unified view of media quality, available across all campaigns and buying platforms.

The Authentic Impression® is the key to sustaining a healthy ecosystem for all. It’s time for leaders in the digital advertising industry to clean up their processes and ensure advertisers feel confident enough to invest in media and social environments, enabling brands to get strong returns from their spend.

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