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Brands Beware: Violence was the Riskiest Brand Safety Category in H1 2017

Sep 12, 2017

Nearly a third of impressions flagged for objectionable content were flagged for violence, according to the latest Integral Ad Science Media Quality Report

Today, Integral Ad Science (IAS), the measurement and analytics company that empowers the advertising industry, has released their bi-annual Media Quality Report. The H1 2017 report reveals that violent content accounted for the majority of brand risk on desktop display and desktop video, mirroring H2 2016 results.

Key report insights:

  • Violence accounts for nearly 30 percent or more of all risky impressions flagged from January to June 2017 across desktop and video, for programmatic and publisher direct buys. Violence came at the top of the brand safety category list for both desktop display and video.
  • Results show that brand safety concerns remain consistent with H2 2016, with 9.4% of desktop display impressions and 11.2% of desktop video impressions flagged for objectionable content.
  • There is a strong correlation between impressions flagged and current events, with advertisers updating their brand safety parameters according to the current news cycle. Take for example, the Manchester Arena bombing that occurred in May. IAS analyzed the top keyword blocked that month and found “explosion”, “bombing”, “Manchester Arena” and “Ariana Grande” were all part of that list.

“We are experiencing a crisis of credibility and trust, which is further exacerbated by the current global socio-political environment. This has created an ongoing hard-news cycle that has proven difficult for brands to navigate on digital environments,” says Maria Pousa, CMO at IAS. “Brand safety has thus become a top priority for marketers this year and will remain a top focus as we head into 2018 midterm elections.”

Beyond typical concerns around reputation management, advertising near unsavory content has the potential to impact a brand’s bottom line. According to the CMO Council, when companies advertise next to objectionable content, 37 percent of consumers rethink purchasing from those brands. Concerns over brand safety have heightened to the point that in some cases, advertisers are now blacklisting hard news sites like Fox News.

Built on in-house data science and engineering expertise, IAS’s brand safety solutions has capabilities in multiple languages, across eight risk categories (adult content, alcohol, gambling, hate speech, illegal downloads, illegal drugs, offensive language and controversial content (which includes fake news), and violence), covering 40 languages and nearly 99% of internet users. In addition to brand safety, IAS’ H1 2017 Media Quality Report highlights various ad fraud, and viewability trends for programmatic and direct advertising across multiple platforms analyzed globally between January 1 and June 30, 2017.

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