Media Quality Report Shows Brand Safety Risk on the Rise: Here Are US & Global Benchmarks

April 3, 2018

The overall level of brand risk in the US jumped by 22.2% between H1 and H2 2017 across publisher direct and programmatic buys, reveals Integral Ad Science (IAS) in its Media Quality Report H2 2017 [download page]. While hate speech remains a small part of brand risk, its proportion of flagged content doubled from 2.3% to 4.5% during that time frame.

Brand risk is defined by IAS as “impressions that are flagged on pages that pose various levels of harm to brand image and/or reputation through association. Brand risk is based on seven core content categories: adult, alcohol, hate speech, illegal downloads, illegal drugs, offensive language and controversial news, and violence.”

Desktop Display Risk

As is typically found in these reports, brand risk is considerably higher for brands investing in programmatic media than in publisher direct ad buys. Within the US, desktop display averaged 11.4% brand risk during the second half of 2017, but was almost twice as high on programmatic (12.1%) as publisher direct (6.9%) buys.

Violence, offensive language/controversial news and adult content were the top 3 types of brand risk for both programmatic and publisher direct buys.

Globally, the level of brand risk on desktop display was much lower, at 7.9%. There was a higher level of risk on programmatic (8.1%) than publisher direct (6.4%) buys, but the gap wasn’t too stark.

Desktop Video Risk

Within the US, desktop video had slightly lower rates of brand risk (10.6%) than desktop display, and a smaller gap between programmatic (11.6%) and publisher direct (7.9%) buys. Violence (51.2%) was the dominant risk category for publisher direct buys, and while it led also among programmatic buys (27.1%), it was joined by offensive language/controversial news (25.4%) and illegal downloads (19.3%).

Globally, the rate of brand risk for desktop video was similar to that in the US, at 10.3%. Programmatic buys (11.5%) again had higher rates of brand risk than publisher direct buys (8.7%).

Mobile Web Display and Video Risk

The global average for brand risk on mobile web display ads was 9.7%, a figure not only higher than in H1 (8.6%) but also higher than the desktop equivalent (7.9%). Brand risk averaged 10.1% for programmatic display and 7.6% for publisher direct buys.

Finally, mobile web video averaged 12.5% risk for all buy types, an improvement from 14.6% in H1 yet still above the comparable figure for desktops (10.3%). Mobile web video brand risk was 16% for programmatic buys and 10.6% for publisher direct buys.

The full report is available for download here.

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