A recent study by NewsGuard and Comscore has found that Advertisers spend an estimated US$2.6bn a year on misinformation websites every year. To put it in another context, for every US$2.16 spent on news websites in the US, US$1 is spent on misinformation. In the wake of the pandemic, misinformation has become a problem with content sites spreading myths or fake news. Advertisers would then unwittingly buy against these sites via their Programmatic platforms, causing a major brand suitability issue for many brands.
Major brands, including Pepsi, Starbucks, Verizon and Marriott have had their ads placed on misinformation sites. Comcast, which owns reputable media companies such as NBC and Sky, were found to have placed ads on misinformation sites over the past year.
Misinformation is just one of the factors that brands need to consider when buying ads, with 21% of every dollar spent found to be wasted due to poor data according to Forrester. Data inaccuracy, whether it be poor content, incorrect demographics, location or whether the ads are even seen, are all problems for many Advertisers today. To mitigate this wastage, there are a few steps and tools that Advertisers can take.
Although we often talk about letting the algorithms identify the best placements for your campaign performance, applying content controls at a contextual level through category or placement exclusions can ensure that not only are your ads pushed to the audiences that matter most faster but also reduce ads being bought on unwanted content.
Brand verification solutions go one step further and are designed to protect Advertisers from unsuitable ad placements. In particular, they are effective with using AI and machine learning tools to detect and block ad on fraudulent, pornographic, violent, and hateful content. With various filters and levels of safety for Advertisers to apply to their Programmatic buying, ensuring a level of suitability for their brand.
We now know your ads are placed with the right content, we should also ensure that they are seen by users. Not only are they seen as a measure of an industry-standard (The MRC and IAB viewability standard for digital display sets the bar low by valuing short interactions over real engagement – 1 second of 50% pixels in view vs 30 seconds view).
Advertisers should aim for brand attention and optimize the “view-time” of their campaigns to drive brand recall and uplift. Time really is money and marketers need to be able to optimize their media to consumer attention in order to convert advertising moments into real business revenue.
Now we know that ads can be placed on the right content at the right time and in a position to be seen for a period of time, how can we ensure that these ads are being delivered to the right people?
Data and supply verification is often a topic that is not talked about and missed when buying through Programmatic. A simple way to ensure you are buying accurate data is via Programmatic Direct or private deals with publishers. Via the open marketplace, however, verifying the data and supply is essential at the pre-bid stage so that your campaigns can run at scale with minimal wastage. Using verification that is powered by Telco or ID-based data points can remove the inaccuracies within data and supply.
Simply put, there is no catch-all solution that will solve this problem for Advertisers. However, there are many tools in place within the Programmatic platforms and practices that brands can ensure they are applying to reduce wastage in spend.