Marketers are always going to be concerned with where their ads appear. It’s understandable- the ever-expanding world of the internet unfortunately gives ample opportunity for brands to pop up where they don’t want to be, as well as where they do. This is perhaps why increasing numbers of agencies are hiring brand safety officers, a role dedicated to preventing ad misplacement.
But, great advertising is about quality as much as it is about control. The ultimate goal of any advertiser is to engage their audiences with helpful, relevant advertising that complements – rather than detracts from – their online experience.
It’s clearly an important issue for the industry, but what about consumers – the people who spend their hard-earned cash on brands’ products and services? Our own research found that where brands advertise actually affects consumers’ opinions of a brand in less than half of cases (46%). The types of sites that brands are afraid to appear on will always exist – but the majority of the consumers that brands want to reach simply don’t access these sites. In many cases they won’t even be aware that they exist.
By this point, we all have rigorous and thorough approaches in place to fight ad misplacement, we now we should turn to quality. A recent study from Kantar Milward Brown on ad reaction suggests that the industry still has a way to go: well over half (66%) of respondents reported that they find advertising more intrusive now than it was three years ago. On top of this, 52% think online targeting is overly repetitive or isn’t relevant. Clearly, we should be as concerned with the quality of our ads as we are with where they appear.
Three steps to quality advertising
So, what can advertisers do to drive up the quality of the ads they are serving? Here are a few simple but effective things to bear in mind:
1. Delve into the data
Marketers have more channels and creative opportunities at their fingertips than ever before. But how can they know which advert to serve and through which channel? Without effective use of audience insights, they can’t.
You can make the most of non-identifiable data, and uncover some very unexpected segments, using clever techniques such as lookalike modelling. This kind of research can unlock audiences that you wouldn’t have known existed, maximising the effectiveness of your campaign.
2. Embrace the power of creative
As an industry, we’re proud to dedicate days – even weeks – to coming up with the perfect creative idea that communicates a brand’s message in just the right way. But these ideas are often crafted with a particular channel in mind. Fast forward to the ‘go live’ date, and suddenly they’re being squeezed into different formats across multiple channels – which don’t necessarily work as well. You wouldn’t wear a wedding dress to every occasion, and advertising’s no different – so creative must be adapted accordingly.
But a distance exists between those shaping the creative and those that execute the delivery. While it may have made sense in the 90s for creative and execution to shift apart, it just doesn’t in the programmatic age we now live in. After all, the joy of programmatic is that it can provide real-time, live feedback on a campaign’s performance.
That live feedback presents the perfect opportunity to improve outcome, with A/B testing being a prime example of how. It’s an easy way to find out what’s landing best with your audience—and it can provide the answer in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. But the disconnect between creative and execution means that those working on the creative often don’t understand the technology that implements the testing. To improve advertising, this silo must be broken down.
3. Be clever with capping
We’ve all been there – you purchase, say, a new pair of green trousers online, only to spend the next month being chased by an ad for the same pair of green trousers. Advertisers need to not only limit the number of times the green trousers appear, but also the format and channel in which they appear.
Let’s say the trouser brand’s ad has a frequency cap of four. This shouldn’t mean those green trousers appear in the same banner ad four times. Instead, the brand behind should deliver their message in a journey, in four different ways: on the radio over breakfast, on desktop at work, on mobile on the way home and through Connected TV in the evening. And, remember, it is possible to frequency cap across channels to avoid green-trouser overload!
As an industry, we are still working hard to protect brand safety. And the good news is we are making progress: Integral Ad Science’s H1 2017 Media Quality Report found that brand safety risk on desktop has fallen from 6.8% to 3.7% since the beginning of 2017. With the industry making such positive steps in tackling ad misplacement, lets focus on what really matters to the consumer: high quality, creative and useful ads.
by Sacha Berlik
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