Brand safety still high on CMO priority list: study

The majority of senior-level marketers remain worried that questionable content will affect their brand.

A new survey of top-level CMOs suggests they remain thoroughly concerned about their ads ending up next to questionable content, even as programmatic buying continues to grow.

The majority of those polled – 72% – said they are worried about the integrity of their brands being negatively affected by putting control of their ad placement in the hands of algorithms.

Another 43% say they have have already seen “some type of problem” with where their ads were served, and 22% of those polled say they can point to specific examples of their ad materials being connected to “inappropriate” online content. Just over one third – 37% – have pulled or are planning to pull ads due to questionable adjacency.

The CMO Council, working with Dow Jones, conducted the survey of 316 senior brand marketers globally this past summer, a season of concern for programmatic media buyers who saw headlines about ads appearing around racist and hateful content on YouTube, and Facebook dealing with inappropriate, machine-generated targeting categories such as “jew haters.”

When asked where responsibility for ensuring online brand safety lay, 67% responded that media agencies should be accountable to “secure programmatic trust.” However, only half of respondents said they were working with their agencies to develop ad-buying guidelines to deal with brand safety issues.

The report’s authors point to research by DentsuAegis and eMarketer to show programmatic buying remains a poweful force online, saying US$563 billion is spent annually online, with approximately 80% of that spend being made programmatically.

Photo by Alex Wong on Unsplash