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BizReport : Advertising archives : January 29, 2018

How seriously are you taking brand safety?

The last couple of years have seen brand safety concerns rise as more scenarios of brand messaging appearing next to inappropriate content come to light. New research sheds light on the "new brand safety crisis" and the preventative action proactive brands are taking.

by Helen Leggatt

Brand safety is something the vast majority of marketers are taking seriously. According to recent research by applied computer vision company GumGum and Digiday Media, 70% say they are taking brand safety "seriously" or "very seriously".

"Up until a couple of years ago, brand safety was never something that was even discussed, even remotely," says Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers.

It's probably no coincidence that it was two years ago that brand safety came into focus with major advertisers' marketing messages being displayed alongside ISIS videos on YouTube.

safety.pngSince then, 68% of respondents said they have confronted brand safety issues, with 54% reporting more than one exposure. While YouTube has been involved in a few brand safety faux pas, it is Facebook that is perceived as the riskiest platform in terms of brand safety, with LinkedIn being the safest.

However, as of last week, YouTube has upped its brand safety game. New creators applying to the YouTube Partner Program now need to satisfy increased criteria in order to earn ad revenue from their channels. Previously, the only qualification was to have accumulated 10,000 views but YouTube felt this didn't provide enough information to identify "bad actors". Therefore, the new YouTube criteria is that a creator must have accumulated 4,000 hours of video watch-time for their videos within the past year and have 1,000 subscribers.

According to Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, YouTube's new thresholds will "allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them", and "prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone".

Yet, despite brand safety concerns, only a few (26%) have had safety measures in place for at last two years. The remaining brands have only begun to employ safety measures within the past 12 months with the exception of 13% who have no brand safety measures in place.

So, what are proactive brands doing to address brand safety concerns? GumGum's report 'The New Brand Safety Crisis', reveals preventative measures such as:

- 53% of brands and agencies use keyword detection to filter out content they don't want to be associated with at both the category and article level;

- 50% blacklist websites based on content;

- 35% whitelist sites whose content they can trust;

- 35% develop direct relationships with publishers;

- 37% are using third-party solutions;

- 2% use image recognition technology to prevent brand messaging appearing alongside undesirable imagery.

"When brands are damaged, we all suffer," said Phil Schraeder, President and Chief Operating Officer of GumGum. "With brand safety now reaching epidemic levels, we need a comprehensive understanding of how these issues occur in the first place and impact the brand ecosystem. Based on our findings, we are able to identify ways to limit brand safety exposure, with computer vision as a leading solution."

Tags: ad platform, advertising, brand marketing, brand safety

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