UK ads now less likely to appear next to inappropriate content, claims study

Negative headlines around ad fraud and brand safety have led the UK ad industry to change its approach to digital advertising, a new report suggests.

brand safety

The UK ad industry is changing its approach to digital advertising as it deals with issues such as brand safety and ad fraud, according to a new report.

The Media Quality Report, conducted biannually by measurement and analytics company Integral Ad Science (IAS), looks at trends around viewability, brand safety and ad fraud across UK desktop, video and mobile advertising.

The report analysed nearly 300 billion global impressions from advertising campaigns that ran between 1 January and 30 June 2017. It found that brand safety risk – the likelihood of adverts being served next to inappropriate content – continues to fall on desktop in the UK, falling 3.1 percentage points from 6.8% in the second half of 2016 to 3.7% in the first half of 2017.

This fall in risk suggests advertisers have been making changes to how they buy adverts, and have started putting better safety measures into place, according to Nick Morley, managing director for EMEA at Integral Ad Science.

“[The findings] highlight that with industry attention and proactive measures, improvements in brand safety can be made,” he explains. “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.”

Other recent research seems to back up the IAS report. The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), which surveyed 35 global brands with spend in excess of $30bn, found some 40% are developing in-house resource to help tackle ad fraud, with 34% saying they started doing this within the last 12 months and just 6% saying they were already doing it 12 months ago.

Marketers are also increasingly stipulating in agency contracts that they have ownership of their data, according to the WFA, with 38% added this is in the last 12 months and a further 24% planning to introduce this stipulation.

Brand safety has been high on brands’ agendas this year, after an investigation by The Times found that YouTube adverts from some of the world’s biggest brands were appearing next to content by pornographers, extremists and white supremacists, helping to fund their causes.

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