Every day this week, PerformanceIN will provide background and expert commentary on IAB Believes: a five-part series which clarifies the UK organisation’s stance on some of ad industry’s biggest talking points.

Today (Monday 17), it’s the bureau’s turn to run the rule over brand safety, with the goal of maintaining processes that “ensure a safe environment for ad trading”, thereby minimising the risk of misplacement and protecting the integrity and reputation of brands.

The IAB says…

That brand safety is “more important than ever” due to the rising prominence of programmatic – or automated – ad trading online.

While new technologies have made it even easier for advertisers to buy inventory over the web, the eradication of vital quality checks has left many brands red faced when their ads are placed next to unsuitable content.

The IAB certainly doesn’t view this as a laughing matter, citing instances of ads being placed on sites “devoted to paedophilia, incest, bestiality and racism” as things that are “sure to dent your brand reputation”.

As promised, the statement also highlights the work that has gone into solving this particular issue. First came the Internet Advertising Sales House (IASH); a now defunct section of the IAB which existed to promote best practice and adoption of codes of conduct among online advertising sales houses.  

The group and its messages eventually became void due to the complexity of the programmatic ecosystem. Following a final update in 2011 the group was succeeded by the Digital Trading Standards Group, which clarifies rights and responsibilities for the exchange of ads online. A total of 43 companies are listed as members.

Overall, the IAB insists the UK is pioneering best practice for brand safety despite the fact “there is always work to be done”. 

Our expert says…

“Transparency and distribution within quality environments should be the norm.”

Justin Taylor is UK MD at digital video advertising group Teads. 

“Having ads run within inappropriate environments is a serious issue for brands. It’s only right that when paying for placements, brands have complete control and transparency about the content which surrounds their ads, so it’s great to see the IAB taking a stand.

The biggest risk for brands is arguably programmatic but by only distributing ads in premium publishers, brands can gain a degree of control. This has never been more important, as our research shows that where an advert appears can drastically affect how a consumer reacts to a brand. It can devalue a brand’s creative rather than enhance it. 

A recent study by Nielsen found that users were more likely to watch an ad all the way through if they thought the ad fit visually with the rest of the webpage and other content on the page.

Transparency and distribution within quality environments should be the norm. By asking for site lists, running verification tools and looking at alternative advertising formats, brands should be able to avoid the situation where they are associated with content they deem inappropriate.”

PerformanceIN is working in association with the IAB to give people new to performance marketing a chance to attend Performance Marketing Insights: London free of charge. Applicants must complete a form ahead of the deadline on September 16, in the lead up to October’s event.