Many consumers view unsafe ad placement as an intentional endorsement of the negative content. With unsafe ad placements, consumers’ perception of the brand declines significantly across key brand metric. Consumers are approximately three times less willing to associate with a brand that advertises alongside inappropriate or offensive content, said a study by IPG Mediabrands' Magna and brand safety company CHEQ.
It was also concluded that consumers’ purchase intent is "stifled" by two times when displayed alongside unfavourable content. Other key findings in the study said that it saw over four times decline in which consumers felt that the brand does not "care" about its audience. With the overcrowding of content in the digital landscape, brands are increasingly concerned about where its ads are being displayed. Many advertisers have also pulled ads over brand safety violations and are actively seeking solutions for safe ad placement both in-house and with third parties. The scope of concern is growing as well, as more and more subjects become taboo, and as political and social sensitivities continue to grow.
According to a recent study by VICE, there is now a growing list of "flawed blacklists" that advertisers choose to stay away from. This means that if unsafe content was once simple to define, marketers must now broaden their definitions to include new categories. The study explained that measuring unsafe ad exposure without preventing it would cause hurt to the brand.
Other key findings in the Magna and CHEQ survey said that consumers are less likely to feel that the brand is "in the know" when its ads are placed next to negative content. It was also said that there will be up to seven times decline in consumers' brand perception due to this. As such, consumers are also less likely to recommend that brand to others. The study also explained that content that clashes with the brand or vertical still causes damage even when that content is generally safe.