Integral Ad Science (IAS) recently released a report highlighting a notable increase in brand risk since the pandemic-led switch to remote work.

IAS defines brand risk as “Impressions on pages that are flagged for posing various levels of harm to brand image and/or reputation through association.” These associations include adult content, hate speech, drugs, alcohol and gambling. 

Jessica Miles, Country Manager ANZ, Integral Ad Science

According to Jessica Miles, Country Manager ANZ at IAS, “Brand risk is a very important metric to consider and has a direct impact on a brand’s reputation with the potential to adversely impact brand value.”

While stay-at-home orders and long-term lockdowns have heightened the amount of time we have spent consuming video content, according to IAS this change in behaviour correlates with increased brand risk from video impressions. 

The report suggests that the primary driver of increased brand risk in H2 2020 was adult content, followed by hate speech. These were also the main drivers of a growth in risk in desktop video campaigns which saw an increase of 1.4 per cent year-over-year, increasing the global average to 7.7 per cent.

When it comes to mitigating brand risk, marketers met the challenge in diverse ways. 

As the situation evolved, marketers adopted a more nuanced approach, considering the context and sentiment of the adjacent content to drive audience engagement in high-quality, contextually suitable environments,” she says.

Regionally, while the COVID pandemic and the US election have been defining features of the last 12 months, it is unsurprising that hate speech content has tripled in brand risk in the USA in the last year. In the UK, adult content, and content related to hate speech and violence saw brand risk drastically increase by 3.3 per cent. 

”As we emerge from the challenges of the past year and with the huge shift to programmatic, there is a greater focus on efficiency. And as marketers, we’ve learned that Contextual Targeting is a viable, privacy-compliant solution for driving efficiencies, engagement, and ROI,” says Miles. 

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