Advanced Television

Study: Factors that influence brand safety and suitability

May 5, 2023

DoubleVerify (DV), a software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, has released findings from its Factors That Influence Brand Safety and Suitability report. The study, conducted in collaboration with Publicis Media and brands such as Kraft Heinz, Reckitt and Comcast, is based on responses to ad and content stimuli from over 19,000 participants across 17 countries. The results aim to help advertisers around the world better understand the factors they should consider as they seek a more holistic and nuanced approach to brand safety and suitability.

Critically, the research reveals that focusing solely on content adjacency – the placement of an ad alongside specific content – is only a starting point for determining a safety and suitability strategy. In addition to context, advertisers must also take into account the message conveyed by the ad, the audience’s perception of the ad, and the brand’s own sensitivities, to craft effective and impactful campaigns.

“By embracing a more holistic approach to brand safety and suitability, brands can not only maintain their reputation and integrity but also ensure that their advertising efforts resonate with the target audience and deliver the desired results,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO, DoubleVerify. “With the insights gleaned from this report, advertisers can adopt a more comprehensive and sophisticated approach to brand safety and suitability.”

“DV’s research challenged industry norms, viewing this topic from a consumer lens and illustrating that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to brand suitability,“ said Yale Cohen, EVP, Global Digital Standards, Publicis Media. “This unique approach brings the consumer and industry perspective together to better understand the insights that live at the intersection of brands, consumers and content. Our learnings will help us customise suitability settings – improving both the protection and scale of our brand clients as they seek to drive more meaningful connections with consumers.”

The report addresses key industry questions, such as which factors most influence consumer perception of brand safety and suitability, and what other considerations – like geography or demographics – advertisers must take into account. The report also offers best practices for reviewing and updating a brand’s suitability settings.

Key takeaways:

Brand Message/Content Alignment Changes Consumer Perception

Certain brand messages are considered more appropriate for specific content categories. For instance, when a healthcare ad was displayed alongside low-risk Adult and Sexual content, a plurality of 44 per cent of respondents deemed it suitable. In contrast, when an alcohol ad appeared in the same context, 48 per cent rated it as unsuitable.

“At Reckitt, brand safety and suitability are embedded in our digital advertising strategy. The research provided us with relevant findings of which categories rank at the bottom versus top of suitability. It also reinforces our approach to brand safety and suitability, as well as how we understand local differences across countries,” said Craig Fryer, Global Media Director, Reckitt.

Regional and Country Variances Are Noteworthy

Geography plays a significant role in perception of suitability. For example, medium-risk Alcohol content was rated as the most suitable category in France and Indonesia, while the same stimulus was rated the most unsuitable category in India and Vietnam.

“DV’s new brand safety and suitability research provided useful and relevant insights,” said Nick Jazerian, VP of Media, North America, at Kraft Heinz.“ Brand safety and responsible marketing are important focus areas for Kraft Heinz, and this research shows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in developing responsible campaigns. There are different risk tolerances across demos, genders, brands, and countries, and we must evolve our brand safety and suitability practices to adapt to the critical nuances.”

Demographics Influence Consumer Sensitivity

Older respondents, those in rural areas, and women were more sensitive in general.

  • Consumers 65+ were on average, 17 per cent more likely to rate content as ‘unsuitable’ when compared to the youngest demographic.
  • Younger respondents expressed a more favorable response to all tested stimuli. They were notably more receptive to medium-risk Adult and Sexual content (24 per cent more suitable) and Celebrity Gossip (29 per cent more suitable) compared to the older demographic.
  • Globally, men found ads alongside all content types more suitable. On average, they rated content 8 per cent more suitable and 4 per cent less unsuitable compared to women.

“This research demonstrated to us how dynamic our brand suitability settings need to be, and the myriad factors that influence how consumers view our brands, all of which evolve over time. As a result of this research, together with Publicis (Spark Foundry) and DoubleVerify, we are adjusting our suitability profiles, and plan to revisit them on a regular basis,” said Todd Rosen, Executive Director Programmatic Strategy, Comcast.

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