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The Dangerous World of Digital Advertising: Why AI Creates a Safe Environment for Brands

Only recently, another big brand - this time Mars - stopped publishing its advertisements on Youtube. Mars took this decision after realizing that its ads were placed alongside violent content. Considering that Mars' advertising budget for the Youtube channel alone is estimated at around 5.7 million euros, the company’s decision hits the online platform hard. Besides the tremendous financial loss, Youtube has to fear that the negative headlines will alarm other brands, so that they will set a close eye on the environment in which their ads are published.

Even though Mars' reaction has prevented long-term reputational damage for the time being, the incident demonstrates how difficult it is today for companies engaging in the digital advertising landscape to ensure that their advertising content appears in a qualitatively appropriate environment. A recent study conducted by Sizmek confirms that 62 percent of the 500 advertisement experts questioned consider the media landscape too complex. If an internationally operating brand like Mars has no guarantee that its advertising is published in a secure advertising environment despite its substantial budget and resources, how can other companies be sure that their ads will not be placed alongside offensive or extremist content? Not surprisingly, the study found that 85 percent of marketers give high priority to improving brand safety. Publishing advertising content in a safe environment thus concerns companies of all types and sizes.

The battle between brand security and campaign effectiveness

Although 61 percent of those responsible for marketing stated that they were already using brand safety solutions from third-party providers, many of them were still unable to prevent their advertising messages from being displayed alongside inappropriate content. In addition, four out of ten advertisers believe that their ads have already been played in inappropriate environments, regardless of the fact that it is very difficult to definitely determine whether an ad has appeared on a damaging website.

The biggest obstacle to brand safety is, however, the compromises that marketers often have to make in terms of campaign effectiveness. The ever-increasing volumes of media spendings (especially in the digital sector) have contributed to the diversification of the advertising landscape, but campaign results and conversions are often severely affected by brand safety solutions. For example, 64 percent of marketers reported that their efforts to only play advertising content in brand-safe environments had a negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of their online campaigns. So what can marketing decision makers do to eliminate the need to compromise between advertising effectiveness and brand safety?

AI as a protective shield for Brand Safety

The fundamental problem in this debate lies in the fact that marketing managers cannot fully understand the environment and context in which their advertisements are published. Artificial intelligence can be the missing piece of the puzzle to make advertising more transparent and ensure brand safety. By analyzing the content and context of a website and identifying advertising environments that pose a threat to the brand's reputation, AI is a core component of an effective brand safety solution.

In addition to increasing investment in digital advertising and programming, the use of artificially intelligent technologies is becoming more diverse and relevant. AI is moving noticeably - also in the eye of the general public - away from the "black box", which makes decisions that are not comprehensible to humans, and towards a trustworthy consultant who can provide information and analyses about where and why he books certain ads. The real-time factor is only one of the crucial points why marketers should rely on AI support in an age of endless amounts of marketing data.

In the study, 84 percent of marketers said they hoped for better results from brand safety solutions next year.

This blog was translated from the following article:

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