Brands must work out what media is suitable and effective: DoubleVerify

 This post is sponsored by DoubleVerify.

In the exploding digital content and social media world, brands aim to ensure their advertising runs in all the right places online. It’s a tricky proposition, driven by the singular goal of not having their online ads running adjacent to content a brand deems objectionable.

However, there is complexity and nuances for brands seeking to decide on the filters they can apply to stop unsuitable media placements.

Many brand advertisers in Asia have overly focused on meeting viewability KPIs, at the expense of a unified metric that takes into account quality criteria beyond viewability, including fraud, brand safety, and geographic considerations.

Our view is that optimising for viewability alone is not enough. While many consider it to be a proxy for performance, not all viewable impressions are brand-safe, fraud-free or served in the right market. This discrepancy can result in higher block rates and, ultimately, campaign waste.

What’s the best way to manage your media quality? Brands need to establish a singular standard so they can start making decisions based on a holistic and verified metric. They need a KPI that delivers an aggregate number to measure their media investments. At DoubleVerify, we call this the Authentic Impression®.

The Authentic Impression® and brand suitability 

Our view is that ads should be fully viewed by a human, in a brand-safe environment, and within the correct geography. Furthermore, our research with numerous clients shows that if a brand optimises to an Authentic Impression standard, conversion rates increase substantially. By developing this accredited standard, our aim was to create a quality baseline for all media investment.

In addition, one of the components of media quality is “brand suitability”. At DoubleVerify, we have 78 categories that measure brand suitability. Our technology covers more than 95% of the top 100,000 sites that generate more than 10,000 impressions a month.

We believe brands that want their media to perform and produce positive returns will increasingly align their spend and targeting to this measure.

There’s a lot of different things that brands don’t want to be around, such as natural disasters, violence, accidents, adult content, negative financial news, and controversial political stories.

As a result, brands face challenges every day with social media, or advertising anywhere, on any device. The CMO or digital marketer has to be vigilant and communicate to their agency and technology partner what their risk profile looks like.

The Asia Pacific region is no different from the rest of the world. DoubleVerify’s Global Insights Report – released earlier this year – demonstrates that each country in the Asia Pacific region has its own risk profile.

This diverse region covers 14 countries, and while the APAC region saw one of the lowest overall post-bid fraud rates globally by region, brand safety incident rates ranged from 3.8% to 25% by country – a far more significant variance than in other regions.

This may be because brands in the Asia Pacific region have yet to prioritise establishing universal brand safety standards. In addition, brand suitability is yet to be considered a worthwhile part of the media quality standard.

We believe this will change as brand marketers get on the front foot and better understand that suitability is a vital part of the performance matrix.

Media quality 

The general rule in marketing and advertising is that low-quality media means poor results, and high-quality media results in a fantastic performance for your campaign. This does not mean that premium media outlets always deliver the best outcomes for your advertising spend.

A brand may target a cluster of websites deemed as niche and of a lower tier, but the return from that ad spend could be higher due to the commercial content being more relevant to that audience.

However, if the target digital media meets media quality standards and has high brand suitability, those websites are of high value to the advertiser. Brand suitability should be a core advertiser expectation, ensuring you never place the wrong ad in front of the wrong consumer.

Ultimately, digital advertising is an always-on, 24-hour opportunity for brands. They want to know how to move their budgets across media channels in a dynamic fashion, while also meeting their KPIs. Marketers need to understand the big picture in order to make future investment decisions, and they can only do that by setting a baseline of quality.

We believe the Authentic Impression metric delivers that. There is a proven performance lift from cleaning up your media quality. As the web becomes more fragmented, marketers pursuing reach and scale will increasingly set controls that can be implemented wherever they buy media, and this will become more sophisticated in defining what media is deemed suitable for their brands.

The writer is Jordan Khoo, APAC managing director, DoubleVerify.