Brand safety has dominated headlines this year. From YouTube and Facebook losing advertisers over concerns of creatives being positioned against undesirable content, to third party activists like Sleeping Giants making brands aware of where they are showcased, publishers need to pay close attention to their content now more than ever.
Digital revenue from video is at an all time high and fast becoming a significant revenue stream for newspaper dot coms. However, if an advertiser has concerns about being positioned against unsavory content, they are quick to scrub their whitelists. And while the earlier concerns of brand safety this year dealt with more blatant content (terrorism, violence, drugs etc), advertisers are now paying attention to social and political climates as well.
Digiday looked at a recent trend in light of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. Their article talks about a programmatic agency blocking ads against keywords such as ”Nazis” and “Charlottesville”. This led their client’s ads to blacklist hundreds of sites including Fox News. Further along in the article, they showcase an example of a Chicago based media agency who pulled advertising for clients from all political coverage.
Media agency execs are now having discussions with their clients about dissecting mainstream news sites with advertisers to determine which content to block. Articles on terrorism, violence and racism are proving too dangerous for brands to be affiliated with.
With such volatile opinions on both sides of the spectrum, publishers need to start focusing on delivering more neutral content to satisfy the growing number of advertisers who are concerned with the videos they are positioned against.
For example, at STN we focus on sports, with an emphasis on brands that are trusted and established. Publishers feel comfortable using our content because, while engaging and entertaining, it is relatively neutral. Advertisers, in turn, get a sense of security knowing that their creative will be positioned against trusted, safe and reliable content. We curate our content daily and ensure that what the publishers receive is relevant, local and audience friendly.
Public opinion is fickle. For both publishers and advertisers to roll the dice on their revenue stream by offering content that, depending on shifting attitudes, could be deemed offensive without notice is a risky venture. However, there are troves of content available that will not only remain safe for brands, but attract and build audiences.
VP, Corporate Communications