April 6, 2017

Brand Safety: Another Case for Increased Trust & Transparency in Digital Advertising

Andrea Vollman

When it comes to discussions around ad quality, viewability and ad fraud often dominate the conversation – and for good reason. On average, 46% of display and 51% of video ads do not even have the opportunity to be seen, while 6% of display and 10% of video ads are subject to invalid traffic (IVT)*. Yet often overlooked in this ad quality debate -- at least until recently – is the topic of brand safety.

With talk of fake news pervasive across mainstream media these days, and with increasing scrutiny being given to the context in which marketers’ ads run, brand safety is finally coming to the foreground. With digital advertising expected to soon surpass TV advertising on a global basis, the stakes are higher than ever before and it’s important for all stakeholders to play a role in ensuring that digital is a hospitable environment for advertisers.

To do our part, comScore is working closely with industry partners to foster greater trust and transparency. We recently announced that we are working with YouTube on brand safety to give advertisers greater visibility into the content against which their ads are running. This is a big step forward in advancing brand safety, but is just one of several ways we are helping our clients address this issue today.

Protecting Your Brand from Unsafe Content
While non-viewable and fraudulent ads are a waste of advertiser dollars, having an ad appear alongside objectionable content can negatively affect a brand’s reputation and be even more damaging to its bottom line. Consider the classic example of an airline ad poorly placed alongside a news article of a plane crash, or the simple potential for a popular consumer brand’s ad to run adjacent to racially-charged hate speech. Concerns around brand safety keep CMOs up at night, and for good reason. A single ad delivered in unsafe content can result in:

  • Waste of valuable ad spend on placements unlikely to drive impact
  • Damage to the brand image
  • Loss of trust and respect among consumers
  • An embarrassing public relations nightmare

At comScore, brand safety has always been more than a single-point solution but an important part of our holistic set of ad verification services– including Activation and vCE –, and central to our mission of bringing trust and transparency to digital. We believe in well-integrated measurement technology and output: with a single ad tag, comScore provides advertisers with comprehensive metrics – including viewability, IVT, brand safety, geographic and demographic in-target delivery. And vCE clients receive our MRC-accredited vGRP metric for both display and video ads, and industry first that provides a simpler method for evaluating the true quality of ad delivery.

Protecting brand safety in a complex digital environment requires the use of reliable, trusted technology throughout the life of a campaign. comScore products answer the call, by allowing you to:

  1. Set your campaign up for success in pre-bid
    • Choose from a rich set of brand safety criteria matching your brand and campaign requirements
    • Customize and refine your brand safety criteria with your own keywords
    • Create and maintain black- and/or white-lists based on page-level brand safety criteria
  2. Protect your brand in-flight
    • Set real-time alerting and blocking to identify and protect against unsafe content throughout the campaign lifecycle
  3. Evaluate delivery post-campaign
    • Understand where threats persist across all media partners through comprehensive post-campaign reporting
    • Refine black- and whitelists to target high-ranking, quality properties while avoiding unsafe placements

As 2017 roars forward, we look forward to sharing more about our ongoing efforts to address the issue of brand safety and doing our part to restore trust and transparency to digital.

comScore can help. Learn more about comScore Activation and vCE solutions.

*Source: comScore vCE Benchmarks, Q4 2016