How much should you trust other platforms to determine if your ads are living in a brand safe environment?

We here at Burst have heard a lot lately from advertisers, their agencies, and publishers about the need for “brand safety” when it comes to advertising on digital and linear platforms. This issue came to the forefront when YouTube and Google started to lose premium advertisers in 2017. These sponsors were astonished to find their advertising and brand messages were showing up next to inappropriate content, so they pulled millions of dollars of ad spend from YouTube. What type of content you ask? Let’s just say it’s plenty of NSFW material that ranged from soft porn to terrorist-type beheadings (and everything in between). Needless to say, something had to be done – and fast.

Source: Oath Inc.

Source: Oath Inc.

YouTube promised to do a better job of policing its advertising-supported content and started to punish certain borderline purveyors of inappropriate videos with a Three Strikes and You’re Out” approach. This cut off a lot of revenue to thousands of YouTube channels who depended on YouTube’s 45/55 revenue split to survive. Google’s “filtering team” was now taking a more active role in interpreting the appropriateness (for adults or children) of every piece of content up on the YouTube platform. Facebook would soon face a similar – perhaps even more damning – brand safety issue.

Facebook’s issues have been even more troubling. Content shared by friends and family has been proven to often be “fake news” (to use an overused term): foreign-influenced storytelling to change the hearts and minds of a generation that is prone to sharing content without fully understanding the source or the accuracy of the message. Not to blame these individuals, as these bots of content look and feel so real – and they appeal to certain demographics so perfectly – that people just share it everywhere. And advertisers? They benefit from the incremental reach, but to find out their brand is supporting fake news has to make some of them throw up in their mouth a little bit. Trust me? Yeah, right. So what are advertisers to do?

Here is where a next-generation, truly brand safe opportunity exists for advertisers. The time has come to diversify away some of that ad spend from social media platforms to more trusted, premium sources of content. By spending on publishers’ web and mobile properties via direct ad buys, yes, you lose may some of the efficiencies of the ad tech world – but you can sleep well at night. Your brand message and brand identity are supporting compelling, brand-safe content (made by real people). Perhaps brands are getting ready to shift:

A recent Advertiser Perceptions poll taken by Oath revealed that 45% of advertisers say social media platforms have done a bad job on brand safety, and 58% reported they are more concerned about the issue than last year. Another 45% are claiming they will shift spend to premium sites to say safe.

I would say the opportunity for brands to find premium content to support AND a safe place to advertise is here – you just need to look for it. Trust me.

Source: Oath Inc.