Zefr is a data platform that enables brands and agencies to activate and measure brand suitability in video

Los Angeles, United States
Founded: 2012
human-reviewed machine learning
responsible marketing
Measurement and insight
video intelligence
Google Ads
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Omnicom, WPP, Havas,
Horizon Media
Dentsu Aegis

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3 ways brands can execute responsible marketing for video in 2022

by Suzy Ley

February 2, 2022

After another year of uncertainty, video content brought consumers much needed entertainment, information, and welcome distraction. Smash hit streaming successes like Squid Game, ever-increasing live stream watchers on services like Twitch, and the rapid growth of new formats like CTV, has led to UK consumers watching over 100 minutes of online video a day.

Notably, the advertising industry has reacted to this spike in demand. Video ad budgets climbed by 12.6% over the last quarter, with a net balance of +8.6% of firms increasing their budget.

But with all this growth comes greater risk for brands, as many increase their spend across video platforms while continuing to use open web brand safety tools that are highly ineffective. To combat this, brand suitability strategies need to be top of mind for those looking not just for safe video ad placements, but also placements that are relevant for their audience.

Here are three ways brands can execute their campaigns across video responsibly, safely and suitably in 2022.

Learn the right language

Video advertising environments are rich and nuanced. Rapidly moving images, coupled with speech, sound and text can defy easy description by legacy brand safety technology – a nightmare for brands trying to ensure their ads are seen in the right contexts.

In addition, targeting ads across video is made even harder by the lack of universally known definitions of brand suitability, leading to marketers unknowingly accepting inaccurate and inconsistent taxonomies that often miss the mark. According to recent research, a third of marketers believe that the lack of consistent suitability terminology across multiple providers is preventing them from implementing an effective brand suitability strategy. One new year’s resolution all marketers should be committing to is aligning themselves with cross-industry initiatives to set standard online safety definitions, such as those created by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM).

Formed in 2019 by the World Federation of Advertisers, GARM aims to tackle the challenge of harmful content on digital media platforms, and therefore make the internet safer for both users and brands. Next year it is imperative that, as an industry, we get on board with these universal standards and embrace a consistent language if we are to maximise the potential of video advertising.

Embracing tech to enhance trust

Bodies such as GARM do more than just give brands the language to communicate accurately about online safety and suitability – they also allow for suitability frameworks to be built into advertising campaigns running adjacent to video content.

By utilizing technology partners that leverage AI and incorporate these universal standards, brands can better understand and choose the exact risk thresholds for their ad placements. GARM's definitions are accessible by all, fostering trust between both the consumer and technology partner. Ultimately, these taxonomies allow marketers to have one view of the quality of their video inventory, rather than different suitability definitions for each channel, skewing results.

Brands prioritizing access to this deep contextual data while gaining greater transparency into where their ad budgets are going will be the winners of 2022. Meanwhile, audiences will build greater affinity with the brands that appear alongside content they enjoy. A study conducted with IPG Media Lab found that relevancy in ads was as important as being entertained for viewers. In fact, ads that were placed in more relevant environments led to an 11% boost in purchase intent and a more positive view of the brand as a whole.

The era of platform domination

Audiences have never been more aware of their own data rights. At the same time, the impending death of third-party cookies has left advertisers and brands looking for an effective means to target consumers at scale. Walled gardens are poised to fulfil both these needs, and user numbers in these environments are constantly increasing.

Brands have already been following this tide, with players such as Facebook making revenue gains of 50% in the last year, and newcomers such as TikTok reporting that their ads are significantly ‘stickier’ than the average social platform. However, these environments are saturated and will mean that advertising strategies must be finely tuned if brands are to stand out from the crowd. Choosing a trusted partner and appropriate tools to assist with navigating these platforms will be key to ensuring that ads reach the right audiences in the right places.

Suitability, suitability, suitability

The overriding theme of our predictions is, clearly, the continuation of a trend we’ve seen accelerate over the last few years – awareness of more robust brand suitability measures.

This year there has been a far better understanding of the benefits of looking past legacy brand safety tools and implementing a more nuanced strategy; however, the actual industry-wide application of this knowledge is not yet where it should be. With nearly half of marketers still relying on keyword blocklists to provide them with video safety and suitability, more must be done in 2022. Moving forward, we hope to see a better uptake of sophisticated, video-specific strategies that combine machine learning supported by cognition, with customized suitability frameworks to nail contextual relevance on video platforms.


video advertising
brand suitability
consistent terminology
universal standards