Programmatic buying has given advertisers a simple and cost-effective way to place online ads in front of millions of consumers, but it has come at a cost. Advertisers, once happy to purchase low-cost inventory, increasingly risk backlash from consumers if their ads appear alongside extremist content, fake news and politically risky sites.
Despite increased brand-safety concerns in both Europe and the U.S., publishers in Europe say safety concerns haven’t made it harder for them to monetize quality journalism, according to recent Digiday surveys. Digiday surveyed 133 publisher executives total at the Digiday Publishing Summit in Vail, Colorado, last month and the Digiday Publishing Summit Europe in Monaco in February. A key finding: Half of these publishers believe brand-safety concerns haven’t affected their ability to deliver ads against their content, while just 20 percent think these concerns have made it harder.
The publishers that think brand-safety concerns could harm their bottom lines are justified in their belief. Beyond pulling ads from sites like Breitbart, brands have gone so far as to refrain from advertising on mainstream publishers’ sites like Fox News.
For U.S. publishers, President Donald Trump — who is hard to avoid covering — poses a challenge. Although stories featuring Trump perform well in terms of pageviews, many advertisers shy away from Trump content. In fact, a prior Digiday study found that 76 percent of brand marketers attempt to avoid Trump entirely.
Brand-safety concerns have also affected European publishers. Most major U.K. newspapers had ads pulled from their sites after some brands found their ads running next to inappropriate videos on YouTube. While some advertisers just requested their ads not appear adjacent to stories referring to the scandal, this situation highlights the issues publishers may face.
Capitalizing on advertisers’ brand-safety concerns, some publishers view themselves as the solution to brand-safety issues. The New York Times pitched itself as brand-safe at last year’s NewFronts. Established publishers like the Times could benefit from advertisers cutting the number of sites their ads appear on. A study by Teads found that over half of CMOs plan to address brand-safety concerns by increasing ad spending on brand-safe sites.
Publishers have also made adjustments to try to mitigate advertisers’ brand-safety fears. U.K. publisher Ladbible, for example, started rating the maturity level of its content to help advertisers choose the content they want to advertise against. Vice, meanwhile, developed a tool in partnership with Grapeshot that lets brands avoid advertising next to certain words on Vice’s site.
European countries are working hard to stamp out fake news, which could help ease advertisers’ worries about allowing ads to appear next to politically charged content. Germany enacted laws that clamp down on companies that propagate fake news. European publishers, including the BBC, Bloomberg and Le Monde, also formed a coalition that attempts to debunk fake news.
Of course, ads aren’t the only way publishers can make money. Subscriptions are a steadily growing revenue stream for many publishers, including the Guardian, the Financial Times, The Spectator, and The New York Times.
However, Fitzco’s research “has consistently shown that environmental issues and sustainability are important topics to younger skewing audiences. The focus on social, along with visual representation of data, aligns with the type of content a younger audience consumes,” she said. Joyce, on the other hand, said interest in sustainability content from advertisers and consumers “has […]
The Washington Post invests in climate coverage as its team expands to over 30 journalists
The Post's climate team continues to expand as the publisher makes big bets on the beat drawing younger audiences.
Inside one media company’s strategy to monetize the Fifa World Cup
Soccer media business Footballco has spent most of 2022 trying to make hay while the sun is shining.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Publishers continue to evaluate cost-cutting in Q4, with economic and budgetary pressures mounting
The wave of cost-cutting measures in Q3 is still flowing into Q4, with publishers under pressure to keep expenses down at a time of continuing economic uncertainty and budget planning.
Media Briefing: Publishers’ Q3 earnings reports show promise, but not without sacrifice
Publishers' third quarter earning reports are in.