Two thirds of big brands say they will increase ad spend despite ongoing brand safety concerns

Brand safety concerns have not deterred many of the major advertisers, according to the study

Two thirds of big brands have committed to increasing online ad spend despite ongoing concerns around ad fraud and misplacement, according to a study conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers and Ebiquity.

The study analysed the intentions and concerns of more than 50 global advertisers who collectively have an annual ad spend of more than $80bn. The research found that around two thirds plan to increase spend with 12% maintaining the same levels and 21% indicating they will reduce online spend.

The investments come despite strong concerns around the ability to track performance, with 62% of respondents reporting that they are ‘dissatisfied’ with the overall level of measurement standards in online advertising, and only 45% clearly seeing the value it adds.

Nick Manning, chief strategy officer for Ebiquity, said the survey results showed that “advertisers are not convinced by current measurement standards” and highlights an industry wide desire for improved safety and measurement standards.

“Respondents demonstrate strong support for recent public calls by Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble and others for higher standards in independent measurement and verification in online advertising.”

Concerns around ad transparency heightened last month following an investigation from the Times, which claimed household names were inadvertently funding extremism by serving ads next to content from terrorists and neo-nazi groups. The report sparked industry wide debate and led to several major ad players pulling adverting from Google.

Matt Green, global lead of media and digital marketing at the WFA, said: “Until recently, advertisers were comparatively reserved about their frustrations with the lack of robust measurement of effectiveness and the absence of independent verification. They’ve now lost their reticence and are demanding more openness and evidence.”

Recently the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards’ (JICWEBS) has been working to clean up the digital advertising supply chain with brand safety audits and anti-fraud certification seals.

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