Interactive Advertising Bureau
20 January 2020

IAB Europe Announces Results of its Brand Safety Poll



20th January 2020, Brussels: IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, today announced the findings of its new Brand Safety Poll. Ninety Senior European leaders from across the digital advertising value chain gave their opinions on how brand safety was tackled in 2019 and what needs to happen in 2020 to ensure brand-safe environments for all stakeholders.

The results reveal that brand safety and privacy remain important, with 77% of respondents saying that brand safety was a key priority.  Fifty-seven percent of respondents agreed that brand safety was top of mind to a greater degree than in previous, citing increased understanding and knowledge of brand safety by advertisers. Brands are asking more questions than ever about where their ads are running and are becoming more conscious and stringent in their media plans, highlighting the importance that the industry enable brand-safe environments.

Addressing this issue, IAB Europe has today also issued its ‘IAB Europe Navigator: Quality in Digital Advertisingpaper, which provides brands and their agencies insight into the national quality-level initiatives that are progressing throughout Europe. These include the IAB UK Gold Standard, the Digital Ad Trust in France, BVDW Digital Trust Initiative in Germany, the Index Quality Initiative in Italy, plus guidelines in Finland, Spain and Sweden amongst others. All of these initiatives were set up by national markets to encourage responsible and sustainable advertising throughout the ecosystem.

Commenting on the poll and white paper, Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe said “Brands fear the reputational damage that can come with a safety breach and expect more insight into where their ads are running and alongside which content. Their increasing sophistication and engagement in this area is creating more actionable pressure for change, which benefits the whole ecosystem.”

The ‘Quality in Digital Advertising’ paper provides clarity and a central resource for brands and intermediaries regarding the initiatives currently running across Europe. The paper lists the different standards and guidelines that companies from across the advertising value chain can support in Europe, with each initiative establishing best practices, transparency and accountability to secure consumer and brand trust in digital advertising.”

When outlining how the buy-side protected against brand safety concerns, the Brand Safety Poll indicates that blacklists and keyword targeting remain the dominant methodology, with respondents claiming the following solutions:

  • 93.8% use blacklists
  • 91.0% use keyword targeting
  • 87.8% use whitelists
  • 83.9% use verification partners

Gerhard Louw, Head of International Media Management, Deutsche Telekom concluded “Over 80% of respondents to the IAB Europe Brand Safety Poll reported that they were using a series of solutions to ensure brand safe environments. We are therefore encouraged to see the wealth of different initiatives running throughout Europe, as revealed in the ‘Quality in Digital Advertising’ Paper. As we begin work in 2020, it will be important to start to bring these different initiatives together so there is harmony across markets.”

A common theme within the Poll was the ongoing need for industry education, with wider discussion about solutions, differences, options, further education and knowledge exchange cited as important in 2020.

Reviewing these results, Stevan Randjelovic, Brand Safety and Digital Risk Director, GroupM EMEA, said “It is encouraging to see from the results of the Brand Safety Survey Poll that the industry has a high awareness of the digital risk in the advertising industry. This is a testament of the collaborative effort the industry is undertaking. However, the fact that the concerns about different areas have either remained the same -- or have increased --, tells us that the industry must continue working together on full adoption of third-party verification, proprietary controls and new technological solutions.”

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