Respondents Say Most “Controversial” News Content Appropriate for Ads;
83% More Aware of Brand Safety Issues Than Year Ago
The historic confluence of inflammatory events over the last year - from COVID-19 to racial justice protests, the nation’s economic crisis, and election controversies – appears to have dramatically elevated consumer focus on brand safety issues, with 83% of respondents saying they were more aware of brand safety issues than they were a year ago.
What Topics of News Coverage Should Advertisers Block for Their Ads, if Any?
(Percent of Respondents Who Said Each Type of Content Should Be Blocked)
|Less Appropriate||Block?||More Appropriate||Block?|
|Mass shootings in schools or other locations||38.7%||Firearms legislation or policy||21.7%|
|Violent riots or civil unrest||33.5%||Peaceful marches or protests||16.3%|
|Incidents of police brutality||31.8%|
|COVID-19 deaths and tragedies||29.9%||COVID-19 societal impact||20.9%|
|Controversial political figures||27.6%||Plane crashes||23.8%|
Notably, 40% of respondents said all news coverage should be appropriate for ads.
“The past year has been a witches’ brew of toxic brand safety challenges across public health, economic, and political topics, and – happily – this survey showed the success of our industry’s efforts to set higher standards and professionalize the field of brand safety,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of the TAG and co-founder of BSI. “Rather than clumsy and narrow traditional approaches that focused on specific keywords or solely on ad adjacency, we are now looking holistically at these challenges in a nuanced, consumer-centric way.”
Among other findings of the survey:
“Brand safety is an issue of consumer perception, and this survey highlighted how nuanced consumers have become in their evaluation of brand risks,” said Neal Thurman, co-founder of BSI. “On topic after topic, consumers differentiated between more controversial news coverage and related topics they felt were appropriate for advertising with a significant plurality saying all news coverage should be cleared for ads. Similarly, consumers looked beyond traditional content issues to include other risks like malvertising and digital piracy in their evaluation of brand safety.”
Consumers Maintain Broad View of Brand Safety-Related Issues
(Percent of Respondents Who Said Each Type of Content Should Be Blocked by Advertisers)
|Unsafe or Hacked Websites||65.8%||72.8%|
|Stolen/Pirated Movies or TV Shows||54.2%||52.5%|
In September, TAG launched the ad industry’s first global brand safety certification program with more than 110 major companies participating at launch, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, GroupM, Havas, Kroger, Omnicom Media Group, Twitter, and Walmart. The program sets rigorous standards for companies across the supply chain to demonstrate their commitment to brand safety.
The results of this year’s survey are consistent with findings from a survey conducted on similar topics by TAG and BSI last year. The full results of the 2020 TAG/BSI Consumer Brand Safety Survey can be found here.