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The Importance of Brand Safety

Posted Jul 25, 2018

The phrase “brand safety” has been a buzz word in the advertising industry for quite some time now. With 67% of Marketers stating that their brands, or brands they’ve worked with, have been exposed to brand safety issues at least once, it’s no wonder why companies are buckling down on safety measures.

While inappropriate content can dramatically hinder brand reputation generally, it’s also important to consider how it can affect user behavior and perceptions specifically. That’s why AdColony decided to take a deep dive on brand safety and conduct a user survey on the topic. The data yielded some interesting results.

The AdColony Brand Safety Survey was distributed globally and asked users about purchasing behavior, offensive content, preferred platforms to encounter ads, and more. While respondent ages ranged from 16 to 75, participants were typically over 35 years old.Results indicated users prefer to encounter ads in mobile games (16%) over social media platforms like YouTube (15%), Snapchat (9%), and Instagram (7%). After seeing an ad in mobile games, almost thirty percent of users purchase products or services advertised through the platform, compared to the just nine and ten percent who make purchases on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram respectively.

The majority of users also said that they encounter hateful, inappropriate, or offensive content primarily on social media, especially Facebook (60%!). Only 19% of users found this type of content in mobile games. Ads from “fake news” outlets were also most commonly found on social media. About 47% of these “fake news” ads were found on Facebook, compared to just 9% in mobile games.

Hateful, inappropriate, or offensive content placed next to, above, or below an ad is not only more likely to negatively impact how users view the outlet (social or a gaming app), but also their perceptions of the advertiser. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that advertisers be wary of with whom and where they choose to place their ads since third-party content can hinder their company image and success and be beyond their direct control.

Research conducted by Hearts & Science and Omnicom Media Group also yielded similar results. Focusing their study on Millennials and Gen Xers, the data indicated that 70% of the demographic will not like, recommend, or purchase from a brand whose ads appear next to offensive, hateful, or derogatory content. About 51% also stated that they are less likely to purchase from the brand, even if the placement was “not the brand’s fault.”

The Chief Marketing Officer Council and Dow Jones also conducted a study, among 300 senior marketing executives and 13,000 CMO members, which revealed a lot about brand safety and trust. About 63% of users stated that they would actually respond more positively to the same ads when viewed in a more established content environment. Another 37% claimed that ads on objectionable sites would change their brand opinion, and 66% would turn away from a brand after a negative brand experience.

It is very clear that consumers care a lot about the ads they see, especially where they see it. One wrong move can mean a complete pullback and a negative perspective on the brand. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to invest in brand-safe environments, where they can feel comfortable knowing their message is going out to the right audience and their image isn’t being harmed.

Click here to download the survey results! 

About the AdColony Brand Safety Survey
The AdColony Brand Safety Survey asked global consumers a series of questions about preferences when it comes to ads, uncovering interesting insights about brand safety and various platforms. Download the full infographic here!

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