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Building Trust In A Harsh Climate—The Right Partners Make All the Difference

Issues of trust in media and advertising have been weighing ever more heavily on consumers and marketers alike. As eMarketer sees it, the uptick in brand safety concerns related to programmatic buys, calls of “fake news” and growing privacy concerns amid high-profile data breaches, have created a “trust meltdown” that is giving marketers plenty of reasons to worry about how their brands are being viewed.

Advertiser Perceptions, which has been tracking trust for years, recently published a study that offers insight into how to navigate this new territory. The key is in the company you keep: who you work with for media buying, what publishers you choose and, increasingly, the ad technology partners that will keep you on the right side of the issues. Here are the three areas marketers should be focused on.

Seek Safe Harbors
The last few years have seen the emergence of new corporate roles like chief brand safety officers, industry task forces such as the Brand Safety Institute, among others, and industry leaders like P&G’s Marc Pritchard pulling back digital ad spend due to brand safety fears.

Brands are beginning to take action on brand safety. Some are bringing programmatic media buying in-house or insisting that their agency partners shift their programmatic spend toward premium publishers through programmatic direct buys (vs. real-time bidding) and private exchanges (vs. open exchanges). As a partner to our clients in getting creative to the right destination in the right format at the right time, Extreme Reach provides the insights and technology to facilitate brand safety. Our 2018 full year Video Benchmarks report provides data on the value of advertising on premium sites, where video completion rates are higher and rates of General Invalid Traffic are lower than on aggregator sites.

Winning at Whack-A-Mole
As Digiday puts it, the industry’s long fight with digital ad fraud has been like a game of Whack-A-Mole with new tactics and workarounds popping up every time the industry manages to put a fix on an aspect of the problem. So it’s no wonder that ad fraud is on the rise as found in a study by data intelligence firm Pixalate and reported in Media Post. The company’s fourth-quarter 2018 Ad Fraud Update found the U.S. had an average fraud rate of 21%, up from 17%. The company determines the rate of ad fraud by examining invalid traffic across 80 million domains and 1.5 million apps.

Our AdBridge platform works against invalid traffic using our own proprietary measurements to monitor for non-human page visitors. So unlike the industry in general, video ads served by Extreme Reach are actually experiencing declines in GIVT, particularly on premium sites. This is a trend we’ve seen over the past three years. 2018 finished with high frequency rates down from an average of 3.2% for full-year 2017 to an average of 1.8% for full-year 2018.

Achieving the Right Balance Between Privacy and Personalization
Seventy-one percent of U.S. consumers worry about how brands collect and use their personal data. Much of the concern results from ambiguities around how advertisers and their partners are transacting on first-party and third-party data use. Implementing more conservative guidelines and policies on the collection, sharing and use of data is advisable for marketers given that consumers respond well to brands that are transparent about their policies for how personal data is being used and shared.

Major changes in data use are on the horizon. California’s data protection act goes into effect next year. As a result, advertising advocacy groups have begun working with Congress on how to implement federal legislation for consumer data privacy so that laws won’t continue to be made on a state-by-state basis, which would be a nightmare for national advertising.

These issues are all likely to get more complex before they get fully resolved. But the steps marketers take today—and the technology partners they choose to support them—will go far in building trust in a video everywhere world.