UK Ad Industry Successfully Curbs Brand Safety Risk

While brand safety risk is on the rise globally, it is actually decreasing in the UK as its advertising industry takes proactive measures to counter it, according to a report by measurement and analytics specialist Integral Ad Science (IAS). The findings suggest that while advertisers are right to be concerned about brand safety, it is possible for them to mitigate the risks.

Globally, brand risk grew across desktop video advertising, rising from 8.9 percent in H2 2016 to 10.7 percent in H1 2017. Risk on mobile video advertising was higher still, at 14.6 percent according to the report. But where advertisers have been sufficiently aware of the risks and taken steps to avoid it, they had found a measure of success.

The UK resisted the global trend, with desktop brand risk falling from 6.8 percent in H2 2016 to 3.7 percent in H1 2017. Risk of adverts being programmatically served alongside violent content in particular decreased by 29.4 percent during this period. “The findings from our H1 2017 Media Quality Report further highlight that with industry attention and proactive measures, improvements in brand safety can be made” said Nick Morley, EMEA managing director at IAS. “This can be seen in the reduction of brand safety risk linked with violent content, due to a greater industry awareness and work undertaken to put controls in place.”

Awareness of brand safety risk has been especially high since many large brands pulled their ads from Google products earlier this year, after discovering that their ads were being played alongside offensive content on YouTube. Following the scandal, though, YouTube has taken steps to combat brand risk, and many brands have opted to advertise with ‘Google Preferred’ channels as a safer option. It is this kind of awareness and evasive action which has helped reduce risk in certain areas.

The IAS report suggested that further investment in programmatic may be the next avenue in which brand safety can be improved. Programmatic buys currently carry a much higher risk than direct buys, but IAS believes that with further development, programmatic technology could actually help reduce risk, since “programmatic not only offers greater efficiency, but also insights and tools to make smarter buys”.

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