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Masters of Media – Richard O’Sullivan – InMobi

In this exclusive “Masters of Media” series, Integral Ad Science (IAS) speaks to the Movers and Shakers of the APAC advertising industry, on all matters digital.

Richard O'Sullivan is the Vice President & General Manager for Australia & New Zealand at InMobi. He brings a global perspective with over 20 years of experience in the marketing & advertising industry, having worked for technology & media companies across London, Dubai, Singapore, New York, Sydney & Melbourne. His earlier stints include leading EMEA, Asia & North America for InMobi in as well as setting up his own company, Protean Consulting in the capacity of Advisor, Mentor & Consultant & focused on market entry, turnarounds and non-linear revenue growth opportunities for companies.

IAS: Please tell us about your digital advertising journey and your current role.

Richard: I initially entered the media industry back in 2001 with IPC Media (now TI Media) before joining and spending some time with National Press with the Daily Mirror & Mail on Sunday, working across various disciplines from BD, Sales, Creative Solutions, and Strategy. After 8-years in the London media scene, my digital advertising journey began when I relocated to Dubai, UAE, to build the digital advertising division of ArabianBusiness.com, a start-up of sorts. 

I had a taste for digital advertising then, what with the agility to transform ideas into tangible outcomes with minor obstacles. I introduced high-impact creative ad units on desktop at USD 120 CPM after getting a friend of a friend to build the code and paid just $750 for the IP. We invented, innovated, and made an impact on the local market, and I hope to think… left a legacy. The next role would be Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) which was the commercial arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, sovereign funded, cash-rich and hungry for unprecedented growth.

My energy and excitement in the digital advertising space was fuelled being part of the team and leading commercialisation of a national newspaper & it’s digital persona (TheNational.ae), working with a fantastic team to conceive of the digital version of Zahrat Al Khaleej, a market-leading female, Arab fashion magazine (anaZahra.com since evolved into this) and commercialising/ launching the English Premier League into the Middle East. 

All of this at a time when we were one of the few companies that charged clients a CPM based on ads rendered as opposed to ads served and when IAS was not in existence. However, with the cultural sensitivities of the region, we did try our utmost to ensure that brand safety was sacrosanct.

I then moved to set up InMobi in the middle east and my digital advertising journey refocused on mobile. My journey accelerated, with six and a half years at the company running EMEA, Asia, North America and now Oceania, based in Dubai, Singapore, New York & Melbourne and travelling everywhere in between from crossing Taksim Square for client meetings during the Turkish uprising, the surrealness of getting a London black cab in Riyadh to paying 10x Uber surge pricing at CES in Vegas. 

IAS: How has COVID-19 impacted consumer behaviours and the digital advertising industry at large?

Richard: The spread of COVID-19 has caused massive disruption to the lives of billions of people across the globe. As people and companies shifted to adapt to deal with this growing/ ongoing crisis, the spending habits of consumers and their media consumption witnessed substantial shifts also, most notably in the growth of Gaming, Streaming & eCommerce. Trends which show no sign of slowing and all 3x trends are converging on the mobile device. More details here

IAS: How has media quality been treated on mobile app, separate vs web?

Richard: This is a very interesting area because while the revenue/ ad request volumes in Australia tend to be 60:40 in favour of mobile web v mobile app, the latter is substantially less understood. Often when the InMobi Exchange is running campaigns across private marketplaces (PMPs), we see media buyers apply filters and parameters that should only be applied to mobile web campaigns. Top examples of web parameters applied against app campaigns include: Keywords Targeting, Cookie Based Audience Targeting (+ other contextual), Pre-Bid Viewability etc.

This creates bottlenecks on delivery of the campaign because the device is the same, the environment is very different and needs different skills to ensure maximum impact. For PMPs, we do consult and solve for with our partners. But if this action is the same across the open exchange, it can slip through the cracks with the potential bad experience misappropriated to the in-app environment as opposed to implementation of campaigns.

IAS: Video has seen a bigger focus with the evolution of mobile technology and support of 5G, what does this mean for the advertisers?

Richard: The growth of ‘video’ has become device agnostic with the ability to walk between rooms + devices and simply pick up watching & consuming content with minimal friction. With the realisation of the potential of 5G and the emotive impact of the audio visual imagery on potential customers it’s going to accelerate the growth of streaming across all devices, all locations and the mobile device will be a critical device in that eco-system, further defining it as the remote control for people lives.

For advertisers, it can mean 3 big things:

  • Enhanced Consumer Engagement: 5G takes the idea of connectivity to a whole new level. With the enhanced internet speed, streaming video is set to be astoundingly faster than anything we have seen till date, creating more opportunities to encourage viewers to experience wonderfully creative, high-resolution video ads. The potential for better user experiences will hopefully result in a higher quality of ads with less people clicking away. This will eventually mean higher view-through rates. 
  • High Scope for Innovation: Video ads which are interactive or playable can land different narratives based on the viewer’s response or preferences during the , From wearable tech to AR and VR, the impact on how we tell stories and interact with technology is set to be huge. This means driving personalized video advertising at scale based on consumers’ individual preferences and needs, in turn helping brands break through the clutter. This mean faster experimentation with advanced technology and better creative for every video campaign.
  • Full-funnel marketing with Video: Soon, video will be leveraged by advertisers to not just drive reach or awareness, but also driving consideration and ultimately purchase or transactions. We have seen a bunch of gaming apps already leverage this for driving app installs but this should also now become a norm for the non-gaming advertisers out there.

IAS: How’s InMobi assisting the clients to survive and thrive in a post-IDFA world.

Richard: Along with cookies, GAID & IDFA have been central identifiers allowing for audience segmentation, frequency capping and attribution for a long time. With the evolution of privacy regulations, InMobi has been working on three fronts to help both demand-side and supply-side partners survive and thrive in a post-IDFA world:

  1. Knowledge and Insights: InMobi Apple's AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework will have a profound effect on in-app advertising in the iOS mobile ecosystem. As a result, it’s critical that advertisers, publishers and everyone in between understand these changes and how to move forward. InMobi has launched an IDFA resource center for providing real-time updates on the adoption rate of iOS 14.5 or higher, the opt-in rates from users, and the progress being made with SKAN. Here are a couple of the insights that are available on the resource center:

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as of June 7, 2021

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as of June 7, 2021

  1. Educating Clients: InMobi has been working with various ecosystem partners as part of the post-IDFA alliance to provide them with the right resources via webinars, whitepapers, and guides on how to plan their post-IDFA mobile marketing strategy. We are also partnering with industry bodies such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau to ensure that players across the board bring out this much-needed information on centralised platforms.
  2. Post-IDFA Solutions: We have recently launched UnifID, an industry-first offering, designed to simplify and streamline identity resolution for mobile app publishers and developers. It is designed to help app publishers make their advertising inventory more addressable and thus more valuable to advertisers. With UnifiD, our app publishers can easily integrate multiple identifiers via the publisher interface, all the while collecting permissioned user data and transferring the corresponding IDs to the upstream demand partners for activating first-party-based media buying. Therefore, instead of mobile ad IDs UnifID allows publishers to select and work with multiple identity players & provide marketers the option to bid on or target users leveraging people-based identifiers in a channel-agnostic way. 

IAS: What are the key initiatives pertaining to digital media quality your company is prioritizing currently? E.g. ad fraud, viewability, brand suitability

Richard: The priority of any company should be to the umbrella term of ‘digital media quality’ as all are equally important to media buyers at minimum as table-stakes. Going further than this and being GDPR, CCPA compliant are additional facets of credibility & integrity for any partner since a company has subjected their products to third party scrutiny and the eventual certification has meaning and offers greater transparency & surety to buyers.

InMobi has now been certified with TAG against fraud for 4-years now. We are compliant with GDPR and CCPA and are also fully enabled for OM SDK of which IAS is a key partner. We comply with the IAB Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF): 2.0. Aside from this we’re the only mobile in-app exchange to have 100% pre-bid filtering of all ad requests.

Now with the launch of mobile web inventory onto the InMobi Exchange our priority is taking our rigorous approach to in-app and applying it to the mobile web environment for the benefit of our customers.

IAS: What is your advice to the fresh talent in the industry?

Richard: My feedback would be that the intersection of media, marketing & technology is both fascinating and volatile and not for the faint hearted in the current climate of fast-paced growth (network effects of platforms), game-changing trends (think 5G, Privacy etc.) but this also means opportunities for self-development and career growth. More thoughts I shared recently with the IAB in their Talent Q&A here.

IAS: How do you unwind?

Richard: Haha, I had to google the term...I enjoy what I do and so when you find a role where passion and growth are intertwined it’s hard to slow down, especially where potential is limitless an entrepreneurial flair is encouraged.

Technology is a Great Enabler of Gender Parity, Productivity

Growing up in New Zealand, Laura Quigley dreamt of flying among the clouds and across the globe. Today she is an influential figure in the advertisement technology industry.

Currently the Senior Vice President of Integral Ad Science (IAS) in the Asia Pacific (APAC) division, Quigley leads the publisher solutions regional expansion efforts within the company. Admittedly, her journey of climbing the corporate ladder has been a long and enlightening one.

In this interaction with the Women Icons NetworkLaura Quigley shares the inspirations that led her to where she is today, and the deep insights that she has accumulated over the years.

Inspirational figures and influences

Growing up, Quigley aspired to be an air hostess, a dream shaped by wanderlust and a desire to don on stunning uniforms and interact with people from all walks of life. While this dream never materialized, the draw of engaging with individuals from a diverse range of cultures stuck with her.

Quigley first forayed into the media industry, with three summers spent working at a radio channel. She reminisces fondly, “I found it to be glamorous, spunky and rather appealing. That was probably the time I fell in love with the media.” Post-university, she worked at Māori Television, a station which worked to revitalise Māori language and culture through its programs. Here, she not only gained a greater understanding of Māori language and culture, but also ventured into advertising and media. And she has never looked back since then, in what has been a journey full of exciting projects and even lifetime friendships.

She recounts that her parents have served as her biggest inspiration. Their hardworking and driven nature deeply embedded the value of diligence and the drive to succeed in her. Despite academic struggles during her time in university, she was unfazed and even more motivated to strive for her goals. She invested more time and effort in her studies and remained committed to her education, allowing her to become the first university graduate in her family. Overcoming these obstacles enabled her to carve out a path of her own.

In addition to her parents, two notable female leaders in her workplace have also greatly inspired her – Donna Gurney, her first boss at NZME, and Natalie Vose – to step out of her comfort zone and encourage the team to continually outdo themselves. It is these inspirational figures who shaped her journey from an individual contributor in IAS Australia to where she is today, taking on bigger roles of managing South East Asia and the wider APAC.

Workplace Gender Parity

The unprecedented digital transformation over the last decade and the growing change in attitudes surrounding traditional working methods has been a great boon says Quigley. With more flexible work arrangements such as working from home, online meetings, reduced commute getting normalized and accepted, women are finally getting what they have been seeking all along. “The rapid technological transformation will open up a plethora of opportunities for women,” she believes.

Quigley highlights IAS as a great example of an equal opportunity employer, as she has never felt that she was treated differently from her male colleagues. The numbers tell the same story – at all levels, IAS employs 56% men and 44% women, and continues to challenge themselves to reach a balanced ratio by the end of this year through its gender equity initiative.

When asked about the importance of gender parity in the workplace, Quigley states, “According to the McKinsey report, advancing women’s equality in the countries of Asia Pacific could add $4.5 trillion to their collective annual GDP by 2025, a 12 percent increase over the business-as-usual trajectory.” She agrees that gender equality serves as a powerful engine of global growth, and pursuing it as a workplace goal can lift many more women out of poverty, unleash the economic potential of many others and reinforce the region’s dynamic growth.

Given that the world’s economic centre of gravity is shifting steadily towards Asia, it is particularly crucial to develop qualified female leadership in the region. Therefore, Quigley suggests that Asian businesses should find ways to retain a larger proportion of young female employees, long enough to break the glass ceiling and ultimately be channeled to take on prominent leadership roles. In order to achieve this standard of gender parity, Asia needs to level the playing field for its female workers. “Technology will become a great enabler (in doing so)”, Quigley muses.

Future of Adtech

With challenges posed by the pandemic last year, operational efficiency has become more imperative, expediting the drive for automation. In the media industry, the pressure of lockdowns has witnessed this change, manifesting as an increased reliance on programmatic media purchasing which facilitated automation, shifting away from direct, IO based bookings. Given the losses borne by businesses in 2020, Quigley emphasizes that this is a year of efficiency underpinned by automation. With less workers, adtech vendors will have to utilize existing buying platforms to avoid the risk of generating high operational costs for partners to deploy.

Frost and Sullivan’s research demonstrates that companies are increasingly recognising the business and operational advantages of automating business processes like data capture – primarily, higher productivity that leads to higher revenues. In a recent survey, 72% of almost 2,000 global IT decision makers have already invested in technology to drive and improve enterprise content and business process management in their attempts to lower operational costs, as well as improve customer experience and digital presence. Through automating key processes and utilizing AI and machine learning to increase the speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness of their business operations, corporations can not only enhance the customer experience, but also motivate employee productivity.

Adtech is evolving quickly, with technology paving the way for a more transparent and measurable digital marketing ecosystem to ensure that campaigns reach out to the right audiences. Employing ad verification to ensure campaigns remain fraud-free, viewable and brand safe has become the minimum standard. Marketers will utilize measurement technology to focus on ad spend wastage, measuring the economic impact of campaigns and driving consumer engagement. Quigley comments that this is especially true for platforms including CTV/OTT and social environments, where advertisers are searching for even better ad verification.

Quigley affirms that advanced verification solutions powered by AI and machine learning will become mainstream. These developments will benefit all stakeholders in the advertising ecosystem – publishers can better monetize their content and generate more revenue, agencies will launch more effective and efficient marketing strategies, while brands can better understand consumer impact of their campaigns.

Privacy and Targeted Ads

Privacy has become a universally essential consideration for consumers, companies and governments all over the world. In an IAS Consumer Privacy Study, 70% of Australian consumers have been found to proactively limit data collection when online, and the industry has progressively shifted to comply with privacy regulations. Presently, there will be heightened scrutiny regarding data collection for advertising, and the usefulness of data is constrained with the death of cookies. Quigley notes a pressing concern, “If you have all this data about the individual, but no way to activate that data in digital environments, you might be better off not having it at all.”

As a result, there is greater dependence on contextual targeting as a proxy for audience data. “Contextual targeting has become more sophisticated than ever before,” Quigley points out. With cutting edge technological advancements, we can now determine the sentiment and emotion of an article, interpreting its content just as a human would. Given these increased capacities, more advertisers are likely to leverage on both context targeting and avoidance to drive additional value and increased alignment in their digital marketing. As such, advertisers are starting to replace audience data with contextual intelligence, rather than supporting laborious data management and privacy regulations that accompany outdated methods of capturing and leaving personally identifiable data.

This article was first published on Asia Biz Today

IAS Studie: Twitter In-Feed

IAS-Studie zeigt: Twitter-Nutzer*innen bevorzugen kontextrelevante Werbung und teilen ihre Daten für die Personalisierung

Twitter-Nutzer*innen bevorzugen kontextuell relevante In-Feed-Anzeigen. Im Ergebnis führen sie zu einem verbesserten Ad Recall und Wiedererkennung der Marke. Dies ist das Ergebnis einer aktuellen Studie von Integral Ad Science (IAS), einem weltweit führenden Technologieanbieter für die Verifizierung von digitaler Werbung. Im Rahmen dieser Studie wurden über 1.000 Konsument*innen in den USA über ihre Wahrnehmung von Werbung und Inhalten innerhalb der dynamischen In-Feed-Umgebung von Twitter befragt.

„Unsere neueste Studie soll Advertiser dabei unterstützen, die kontextuelle Relevanz ihrer Werbung in dynamischen Social-Media-Umgebungen effizienter zu steuern“, so Tony Marlow, CMO von IAS. „Jeder Marketer möchte qualitativ hochwertige Verbindungen mit seiner jeweiligen Zielgruppe herstellen. Daher arbeiten wir eng mit Twitter zusammen, um neue In-Feed-Lösungen für Markensicherheit und -eignung anzubieten, die sowohl die Relevanz als auch die Effektivität von Kampagnen erhöhen.“

Twitter ist dafür bekannt, die Konsument*innen über alle aktuellen Themen auf dem Laufenden zu halten. Das In-Feed-Werbeerlebnis liefert Twitter direkt im entsprechenden Newsfeed. Über das Social Media-Verhalten der Konsument*innen hat die aktuelle IAS Studie folgendes herausgefunden:

  • Konsument*innen bevorzugen das Smartphone für ihre Social-Media-Konsum: 73 Prozent der Befragten nutzen am liebsten ihr Smartphone, um auf soziale Medien zuzugreifen. 80 Prozent verbringen dabei mindestens zwei Stunden, rund einer von drei Konsument*innen sogar täglich fünf oder mehr Stunden in sozialen Medien. Für Advertiser ergeben sich daraus effiziente Möglichkeiten, um ihre Anzeigen in Umgebungen wie Twitter zu platzieren.
  • Twitter In-Feed Ads ziehen die Aufmerksamkeit der Konsument*innen auf sich: Laut IAS-Studie haben sich 57 Prozent der Konsument*innen im vergangenen Jahr mit einer Anzeige auf Twitter beschäftigt. Fast die Hälfte (46 Prozent) der Befragten gab an, dass sie sich eher mit In-Feed-Anzeigen auf Twitter befassen als mit Werbung im offenen Web.
  • Kontextrelevante Anzeigen steigern die Marken-Beliebtheit und -Erinnerung auf Twitter: Twitter-Nutzer*innen sind laut der Studie an personalisierten Inhalten und In-Feed-Werbung interessiert, die kontextuell relevant zu angrenzenden Inhalten sind. 54 Prozent der Konsument*innen fühlen sich demnach besonders wohl dabei, mit Marken in Kontakt zu treten, die neben für sie personalisierten Inhalten in sozialen Netzwerken erscheinen. Mehr als drei Viertel (77 Prozent) geben zudem an, dass sie gerne Daten mit Twitter teilen, um das Werbeerlebnis zu verbessern. Darüber hinaus sind 59 Prozent der festen Überzeugung, dass sie sich an eine In-Feed-Werbung besser erinnern würden, wenn diese zum inhaltlichen Kontext der Umgebung passt.

Die neue Studie von IAS zeigt: In-Feed-Anzeigen können das Nutzererlebnis und das Engagement der Konsument*innen mit der Werbung im Twitter-Newsfeed deutlich verbessern. Die Ergebnisse basieren auf den Antworten von US-amerikanischen Twitter-Nutzer*innen im April 2021.

IAS Publisher Roundtable 2021

IAS Publisher Roundtable: Transparenz, einheitliche Standards und Austausch essentiell

Während der letzte Publisher Roundtable in 2019 noch in Präsenz stattfinden konnte, war er in diesem Jahr zwar komplett virtuell – dies stand einem lebhaften Austausch jedoch nicht im Wege. Unter der Leitung von Jan Philipp Hinrichs, Director Strategic Alliances CEE, IAS, diskutierten dieses Mal Stefan Moeller, Director Digital Ops & Measurement at OMD Germany, Fritz Heymann, Head of Business Development at Burda Community Network und Marija Ashmele, Senior Customer Success Manager CEE bei IAS über die Themen, die die Werbebranche gerade bewegen.

Bei Ad Verfication waren sich alle Beteiligten einig: Schulungen und einheitliche Standards sind wichtig. Denn viele Kolleg*innen würden erst dann aktiv, wenn sie Berührungspunkte mit diesem Thema haben. Dabei wies Marija Ashmele daraufhin, dass aus Sicht von IAS vor allem Optimization und Consulting im Vordergrund stehe. Die Kür sei es, einen proaktiven Ansatz zu verfolge und die Daten, die man generiere, optimal zu nutzen“.

Einheitliche Standards sind notwendig

Auf die Frage von Oliver Hülse, was IAS tun kann, um das Ungleichgewicht im Monitoring von Walled Gardens auszugleichen, ergab sich eine spannende Diskussion. Fritz Heymann betonte, das große Problem sei aktuell noch, alle Services auzuschöpfen, die von Ad Verfication-Anbietern angeboten würden. Dem pflichtete Stefan Möller bei, dass die technischen Voraussetzungen sehr unterschiedlich seien. Eine große Chance liege daher darin, ungenutztes Potential stärker auszuschöpfen. Stefan Bergmeier der IP Deutschland GmbH wies zudem noch auf die Bedeutung von einheitlichen Standards hin – dies würde jedoch nicht von der Sell Side allein, sondern nur mit allen Marktteilnehmern funktionieren. Als Beispiel führte er den neuen Standard VAST 4.x an.

Austausch zwischen Marktteilnehmer*innen wichtig

Auf die Frage von Jan-Philipp Hinrichs, wo die Gesprächsteilnehmer*innen in der Wertschöpfung konkreten Handlungsbedarf sehen, stellte Stefan Möller fest, dass gemeinsam die Komplexität ausgeschöpft und dies auch als Chance begriffen werden müsse. Hier würde es vor allem um strategische Techplanung gehen. Heymann wies zudem daraufhin, wie wichtig es sei, dass die Branche miteinander spreche und sich im stetigen Austausch befinde. Beim Techpart müssten die verschiedenen Parameter verstanden und gemeinsam gelöst werden. Dabei wandte Stefan Möller ein, dass der Aufwand nicht zu unterschätzen sei. Marija Ashmele betonte außerdem, wie wichtig es sei, auch die Kommunikation zu ritualisieren – nur durch regelmäßigen Austausch könne das beste Ergebnis für alle Beteiligten erzielt werden.

Das Fazit der Diskussion brachte Patrick Stoltze, Sales Director CEE bei IAS, auf den Punkt, der die inhaltliche Tiefe der Diskussion lobte: Education dürfe nicht am Ende stehen. Für alle Branchenakteur*innen gelte es, proaktiv in den Austausch zu gehen und kritisch zu hinterfragen, wie man die Qualität verbessern könne.

Mehr Informationen über Lösungen für Publisher finden Sie hier.

IAS Context Control Case Study with Bench Media

With the impending deprecation of the cookie, digital marketers are exploring targeting alternatives outside of third-party cookies. This includes Bench Media, a programmatic marketing agency based in Australia. One of the alternative solutions available is to target audiences via contextual relevance using IAS’s Context Control.

Bench ran a head-to-head test with IAS and a major DSP’s audience targeting segments across three of their clients across three different industries with the goal of understanding which solution would be able to deliver cost-efficient yet scalable results.

As a result of the test, Bench Media found that by using IAS's Context Control solutions, they saw improvements in key metrics such as CPM, CTR, CPC, and video completion rate. Some key highlights include:

  • 36% decrease in Cost Per Click
  • 21% increase in Click-Through Rate

Download the toolkit to view the full case study and to learn more about our Contextual Targeting solution.

Case Study: How dentsu Drives Efficiency

One of dentsu’s major advertiser clients was leveraging IAS Context Control Avoidance for brand suitability post-bid. While the solution was working well and keeping their brand protected, dentsu and the advertiser wanted to reduce their block rates and increase efficiencies in their campaigns.

Explore the findings and learn:

  • How to maximize programmatic efficiencies with brand suitability to drive brand engagement
  • How to keep the cost down and avoid paying additional ad serving fees 
  • How to drive performance with contextual avoidance

Download the case study now.

IAS at PubMatic’s Envision Global Event

IAS are delighted to take part in PubMatic's Envision event which takes place on July 14th.

In a time of unprecedented disruption, the future of addressable advertising remains uncertain. Imagine the possibilities if we come together to build a stronger, more sustainable, addressable advertising ecosystem. 

This inaugural global festival of ideas and solutions will bring together industry leaders, experts, thinkers, and dreamers from around the world to discuss this pressing issue and debate the various paths to success. 

Join Laura Quigley as she moderates a panel of guests including Louis Boswell, AVIA, John Miskelly, GroupM, Nicole Scaglione. Pubmatic and Rajiv Singh, Viu as they discuss "Understanding audience addressability on OTT in Southeast Asia".

To hear this and many more exciting panels across the globe, over the course of 25 hours on July 14th, register here today!

CTV: Fast Forward, The Future is Now

After witnessing years of growing adoption, connected TV (CTV) has finally accelerated into the forefront of media consumption as consumers’ preferred streaming device. With content creation and audiences increasing by the minute, advertisers are looking to shift budgets away from linear television and toward this modern streaming method.

Where are consumers looking? YouTube. Consumers are not only streaming YouTube through CTV devices, they prefer YouTube to all other ad-supported streaming services on CTV.

In YouTube on CTV: Fast Forward, The Future is Now research IAS asked consumers how they feel about YouTube content and accompanying ads on CTV devices. The study uncovered consumer use, behaviors, and attitudes associated with watching YouTube content on CTV and their perception of the ad experience.

Download our Fast Forward, The Future is Now research to find out more.

The state of brand risk in Europe

It’s been a transformative year in digital advertising. The pandemic and global lockdown orders have increased digital content consumption at its fastest rate. At the same time, 2020 witnessed a rise in hate speech, misinformation and social movements. This has all impacted digital advertising and media quality - the content alongside which ads appear. 

Issues such as brand safety are top of mind for every marketer – and for good reason. There are constant reports of brands running ads alongside questionable content. So, how much do these risks impact marketers in Europe and what does the state of media quality look like in the region? 

IAS analysed over trillions of data events in its latest Media Quality Report H2 2020 and crunched the numbers to determine the state of media quality in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. 

Brand risk impacted during a turbulent year 

As content creation accelerated at an unprecedented rate, coupled with a rise in hate speech and misinformation, advertisers prioritised brand reputation and risk mitigation - ensuring that their advertising does not inadvertently appear next to hateful content or fund misinformation. However, over the past year, the brand risk landscape has shifted.

Due to the heightened sensitivity of global events in 2020, the IAS Media Quality Report highlights how brand risk levels for desktop display in Italy and the UK increased in the second half of 2020. Data shows that the increase of impressions flagged as posing a risk to brands was mainly driven by a rise in adult, hate speech, and violent content.

Meanwhile, Spain, France and Germany witnessed improvements in desktop display brand risk driven by an improvement in programmatic buys.  

Brand risk on desktop video increased at lower rates than desktop display across all countries. Italy and the UK trended below the worldwide average with lower risk while Spain, France and Germany were above. IAS scores risk based on Medium, High and Very High risk levels, and noticed that the primary driver in desktop video risk was associated with Medium risk levels.

Brand risk for mobile web display witnessed a slight increase as well - an average of 5.8% of total ads worldwide were found to appear next to risky content in H2 2020, up from 5.7% in H1 2020. The upward trend was caused mainly by the violence content category, and offensive language and controversial content. 

Mobile web display flagged the lowest percentage of brand risk content when compared to all other formats.  All regions minus the UK - Italy, Spain, Germany and France - saw a decrease in brand risk across mobile web display.

When considering all formats across Europe, Italy had the lowest level of brand risk, while Spain witnessed significant improvements. On the other hand, after years of improvement, UK brand risk increased across all media environments in H2 2020 amid turbulent times.

Making Media Quality Count

The quality of content alongside which an ad appears matters to consumers and has a significant impact on their fondness of a brand. In fact, 68% of British consumers hold brands accountable for poor placements and this figure only increases across Europe: reaching 72% in France and 65% in Germany. Marketers need to make an effort in ensuring ads run in high-quality environments, to not only reach consumers, but make better connections with them as well.

Brands looking to navigate the ever-evolving digital environment should take a more effective brand safety and brand suitability approach and consider the context and sentiment of the content alongside which their ads appear. 

Advertisers that have used sophisticated contextual technologies, including those offered by IAS, can deliver campaigns in line with their brand values and target consumers in high-quality and contextually suitable environments.

Download the full H2 2020 Media Quality Report and learn how you can optimise your next campaign.