65% of UK advertisers had ads exposed to non-brand safe environments

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. July 1, 2019

Over two-thirds of the UK’s top advertisers have had their ads run in environments considered as non-safe, according to new research by Ebiquity and zulu5.

The Brand Safety in the UK: Willing to risk it? report found that during Q1 2019 65% of UK advertisers had their ads exposed to non-brand safe places, which could potentially damage brands in the long-term.

Brand safety is a complex issue, but previous research has shown that consumers are 2.8x less likely to associate with brands whose ads appeared in a negative context. Perceptions of brands which had their ads shown in non-safe environments dropped 7x leading consumers to be 0.5x less likely to recommend a brand.

However, Ebiquity notes that different advertising categories carry different risks in terms of exposure.

Health & fitness as well as finance brands were identified next to extreme content more often than other ad types, whilst eCommerce brands were more likely featured next to sexual content.

According to the research, certain sectors are more likely to suffer negative consequences from non-brand safe exposure. For example, healthcare or pharmaceutical brands noted a bigger effect on brand equity than eCommerce brands.

Performance campaigns were identified as those carrying the greatest risk of being featured next to unsafe content due to higher risk of a focus on conversion.

Ebiquity distinguishes between two types of brand safety: an objective tier which is considered unsafe for all brands; and a subjective tier which is based on advertiser preference. Among the majority of 100,000 cases measured in the UK most were in subjective tiers.

Advertisers are advised to consider a three-tier approach to brand safety which begins with a definition of inappropriate content, followed by implementation of brand safety standards and continue monitoring.