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The True Cost of Harmful Content

content strategy

Modern marketers can thrive only with valuable contextual targeting. Explore the tornado of “harmful content” & align your contact marketing strategy in accordance.

If there’s one thing the pandemic made clear, it’s that consumers expect brands to ‘do good’ in the world, and a bad reputation by association is still a bad reputation.

Harmful content not only impacts a brand’s reputation but it also impacts its bottom line. If a brand is seen associated with, or is seen supporting harmful content with its ad placement, this can have serious and long-lasting effects on consumer trust and loyalty.

A recent whitepaper by Factmata and 4D (a division of Silverbullet), Is Brand Safety Enough?, found despite best efforts, brands ads are still appearing in unsafe and unsuitable environments. In fact, nearly US$1 billion of global programmatic spend last year was spent on unsuitable content.

5% of budget is being wrongly spent

According to the whitepaper, programmatic spend globally throughout 2020 was expected to reach US$126.5 billion, however, unsuitable content flagged by Factmata, but missed by existing brand safety vendors, equates to 0.71% of this total spend or a whopping $898m wasted.

Further, 5% of this spend was unwittingly spent on Propaganda, Racism, Sexism or Hate Speech, which equates to $6.3 billion.

“It’s no easy feat. Leading brand safety tools are playing a fantastic role in the effort to protect brands, but cannot do it alone,” says Dhruv Ghulati, CEO Factmata. “Brands need to explore additional layers of protection to gain 100% confidence in where their ads are being placed.”

The whitepaper reports that whether existing available brand safety filters are applied to campaigns or not, Factmata consistently blocks 4% to 5% of the total budget from being spent on Hate Speech, Propaganda, Sexism and Racist Content unsuitable to brands and advertisers.

Unsuitable content flagged by Factmata but not traditional brand safety solutions is estimated to be £19.6 million ($26.8 million) of UK programmatic spend (around 5% of the budget). This investment could be utilised elsewhere.

The safe way forward

Many organisations are now recognising their current brand safety tools are not enough, and are turning instead to a blended approach to brand safety and suitability .

According to a study commissioned by CHEQ and Digiday, nearly two-thirds of advertisers say existing brand safety tools are not fit for purpose.

Unfortunately, 92% of respondents also stated they would forgo the use of brand safety tools if they were not achieving adequate reach, however 99% are seeking more customised tools to ensure safety, without sacrificing reach.

Modern marketers who want to thrive in the new marketing age need to be aware of nuance and true context to identify the right moment and the right environment in order to align with the right message.

Brands looking for safe and suitable solutions are now aligning themselves with advanced

solutions beyond traditional methods that move far beyond the scope of traditional brand

safety methods.

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Alex Rosen
Alex holds just shy of 20 years’ experience in digital marketing and advertising technology, starting his career in web development. He is currently the CTO at Silverbullet.

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