Brands need to optimise their content strategies to ensure that the news and videos they publish are not associated with controversial websites, according to Integral Ad Science CMO Maria Pousa, who weighed in on the hot topic of brand safety during the Cannes Lions Festival.
Concerns about content placement is an ongoing challenge for brands, especially in the wake of the ad controversy on YouTube, and Pousa has urged marketers to take a proactive approach to content strategies to mitigate the risks involved. She said that those who merely “set and forget” campaigns are the most at risk of setbacks that could cause reputational damage.
“Typically, what we see is, [brands] tend to set and forget their strategies, but the ones that are very savvy are keeping up with the news cycle and changing key words on the sites that are being blocked to prevent the brand being associated with negative content,” Pousa said.
Concerns about ads appearing alongside offensive content have not subsided in recent months, and a new study by media giant GroupM claims that they are set to have a major impact on revenue streams for social giants such as YouTube and Facebook.
The ad industry group still expects total ad spend across search engines and social media to increase by around 11 per cent to almost £10.5 billion in 2017, but that figure is down on the previous growth forecast of 15 per cent and represents the lowest growth rate in UK advertising for six years.
“Effectively, since March, we have seen a surprisingly general effect of clients either stopping spend altogether or pausing spend in this area,” GroupM’s Adam Smith said. “It has been widespread [and has] been much more persistent in that if you thought it was something that was a seven-day wonder, it isn’t. There is still a substantial number of advertisers yet to return to their prior weight of ad investment.”
Organic content such as unique news, infographics and creative clips now appears to be more important than ever for brands to drive positive customer actions and brand reach and awareness due to ongoing concerns about paid ads.