72% of mobile and digital advertisers are concerned about brand safety

Despite programmatic ads now representing four out of five US digital display dollars, a whopping 72% of brand advertisers are concerned about brand integrity and controlling their digital display placement when buying programmatically. According to research from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Dow Jones among 300 senior marketing executives and 13,000 CMO members, ad tech does have its limitations and brands may be unwillingly posting their ads alongside derogatory or offensive media content, fake news or otherwise inappropriate channels.

Whilst programmatic ad spend has increased from $5 billion in 2012 to $39 billion in 2016, at an average growth rate of 71%  a year, programmatic is predicted to jump another 31% in 2017 to become a principal method for trading digital display ads.

However, 43% of brand advertisers admit to having already struggled with reputation queries following a negative placement incident. Another 37% pulled their ads because of adjacency issues.

The majority of marketers (78%) agree that the main impact of programmatic placement issues is reputation damage.

Meanwhile, agencies are expected to do more to solve these issues as 50% of CMOs are developing new advertising guidelines to ensure more accurate placements.

Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, explains:

“Our member research shows that clients are going to be putting more pressure on their advertising and media-buying partners to provide greater due diligence, control and monitoring when it comes to ensuring ad placement efficacy through automated platforms. They want to see greater ad spend effectiveness and better attribution from a performance measurement standpoint. They will also likely dictate which channels are pre-approved and shift spend to those that are most trusted and proven.”

Trust is also one of the key concerns for the end consumer, according to the report. A majority of them (63%) said that they respond more positively to the same ads when viewed in more established content environments. Another 37% of consumers admit that ads across objectionable sites change their brand opinion, and 66% even turn away from a brand after a negative brand experience.

According to the CMO, there are five top actions which brand marketers are currently focusing on in order to ensure brand safety and intended placements. They include developing digital advertising guidelines for their agency and ad-buying networks; relying on media-buying firms to control placements; tracking and monitoring their digital placements internally; swapping to programmatic direct buying and private exchanges rather than bidding in open exchanges; and developing whitelists of pre-approved publishing channels.