Local brands lag behind globally for driving brand safety initiatives, says IAB South East Asia & India

Local brands lag behind global for driving brand safety initiatives, says IAB Southeast Asia & India

Brand safety is being predominantly driven by local brands, according to the IAB Southeast Asia (SEA) and India’s first major regional study into brand safety.

According to the report, over 80% of agency and adtech respondents agreed that global brands predominantly drive concern over brand safety. The report added that this is despite the fact that brand safety measures and standards are set with regional and local considerations in mind by 42% of the industry.

Commenting on the report, IAB Southeast Asia and India regional CEO Miranda Dimopoulos, says: “Education is a shared responsibility from everyone involved. Our recommendation for brands is to follow a considered roadmap which starts with the seven steps outlined in our Brand Safety Handbook. We published this in 2017, however, the tenets are still spot on today regardless of whether you are global, regional or local."

"In terms of agencies, we urge local teams to develop positive use cases to share with clients and partners to illustrate best practise and support in setting realistic campaign objectives upfront. For ad tech partners, protection is built into the tech itself so it's more a matter of qualifying who is the best fit and your agency partner is perfectly placed to help you with this decision.”

The report also revealed that some verticals also show inconsistencies in concern for brand safety. The agencies quizzed in the report said FMCG and luxury brands lead this, while publishers said brands in verticals such as finance or travel and leisure lead the way.

Dimopoulos adds that this could be an angle for future exploration: “In terms of the verticals, we are less concerned as there are varying reasons as to why. For example, the pharmaceutical industry is already strictly regulated and there is a narrow scope for how and where they advertise - not to mention having space for the small print. For other outliers on the low end of concern, such as education and automotive, it's more a matter of these verticals showing comprehension and established plans which relieve tension. As this is our first foray into this topic across the region, we've already earmarked drilling deeper into verticals for our next iteration.”

She also explains that brands need to set their own parameters around what they mean by brand safety as different brands will have their own comfort levels.

“Brand safety is set and owned by the brand itself. As we shared in our Brand Safety handbook, some brands may be perfectly fine with content that is considered inappropriate (violence, nudity) but for others, restricting such content will form the core of their approach. For example, a children's toy brand could define that they only want to be in G rated environments. A men's grooming product may define they only want to be in PG13 or higher environments to increase their targeted reach,” she says.

The decision to launch the research came from consultation with senior members and stakeholders earlier this year, leading to the formation of the Brand Safety and New Media Working Groups. It was deemed that regional information on brand safety was largely anecdotal and more formalised research was needed.

As for next steps, the IAB SEA and India now plan to launch further education for the market.

Says Dimopoulos: “With time to absorb and reflect the results of this piece, we are now moving into scoping a clear road map based on the results which encompass further research, such as a greater understanding around verticals, developing specific education modules to complement current buy and sell-side training programmes to bring the brand safety narrative into day to day business as well as qualifying appropriate technical standards for the region such as the IAB Tech Lab who we have recently joined.”

Hear more about the current state of brand safety in Singapore at The Drum's Programmatic Punch event on 3 October.

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