Close to two-thirds of Britain’s top 100 advertisers have been exposed to potentially brand unsafe environments in the first quarter of 2019 alone, according to a new report.
'Brand Safety in the UK: Willing to Risk it?' was commissioned by marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity in partnership with zulu5, focussing exclusively on the world’s third-largest programmatic market.
It found that 65% of advertisers working within the upper echelons of the industry had been exposed to potentially long-term brand damage or commercial harm as a result – with e-commerce brands most at risk.
The analysis found that such brands were the most likely of all sectors to be exposed to sexually explicit content while beauty & fitness brands, the least likely to inadvertently fall within a non-brand safe environment overall, were at highest risk of being shown alongside extremist content.
Risks are not equivalent between brands however with pharmaceutical companies having the most to lose from unsavoury associations.
Angus Mclean, director digital, Ebiquity, said: “Our report demonstrates that brand safety is a complex issue that remains highly relevant for many brands, and there isn’t necessarily one standard applicable to all advertisers. Despite continued risks to brands, we believe advertisers can take active steps to tackle brand safety and ad fraud.”
Andreas Gysler, chief executive and co-founder of zulu5, added: “Ad misplacement is a serious issue which, if left unaddressed, can threaten the long-term health and well-being of the global digital advertising market. There is a more proactive role that advertisers need to play, and they need to understand the importance of the reputational and financial damage this may cause.”
To minimise risks Ebiquity recommends advertisers first define what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate content before implementing their own brand safety standards while actively monitoring and managing campaigns.
Last week Unilever, Google, Facebook and others formed a 'digital safety' alliance to de-risk the market for advertisers.