In the news surrounding the quality of transparency within digital marketing, 77% of European leaders said that brand safety remains a top business priority, according to new research from IAB Europe.

Europe’s industry association for digital advertising announced the findings of its new Brand Safety Poll, with 90 senior European leaders from across the digital advertising value chain giving their opinions on how brand safety was tackled in 2019 and what needs to happen in 2020 to ensure brand-safe environments for all stakeholders.

The results reveal that brand safety and privacy remain important, with 57% of respondents agreeing that brand safety was top of mind to a greater degree than in previous years, citing increased understanding and knowledge of brand safety by advertisers.

Meanwhile, when outlining how the buy-side protected against brand safety concerns, the Brand Safety Poll indicated that blacklists and keyword targeting remain the dominant methodology, with respondents claiming the use of blacklists (93.8%), keyword targeting (91%), whitelists (87.8%) and verification partners (83.9%).

Addressing this issue, IAB Europe has today also issued its ‘IAB Europe Navigator: Quality in Digital Advertising’ paper, which provides brands and their agencies insight into the national quality-level initiatives that are progressing throughout Europe. These include the IAB UK Gold Standard, the Digital Ad Trust in France, BVDW Digital Trust Initiative in Germany, the Index Quality Initiative in Italy, plus guidelines in Finland, Spain and Sweden amongst others.

All of these initiatives were set up by national markets to encourage responsible and sustainable advertising throughout the ecosystem.

Commenting on the poll and white paper, Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe said: “Brands fear the reputational damage that can come with a safety breach and expect more insight into where their ads are running and alongside which content. Their increasing sophistication and engagement in this area are creating more actionable pressure for change, which benefits the whole ecosystem,” commented Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe.

Industry education

Brands are asking more questions than ever about where their ads are running and are becoming more conscious and stringent in their media plans, highlighting the importance that the industry enables brand-safe environments.

In addition, a common theme within the poll was the ongoing need for industry education, with a wider discussion about solutions, differences, options, further education and knowledge exchange cited as important in 2020.

Reviewing the results, Stevan Randjelovic, brand safety and digital risk director at GroupM EMEA said: “It is encouraging to see from the results of the Brand Safety Survey Poll that the industry has a high awareness of the digital risk in the advertising industry. This is a testament of the collaborative effort the industry is undertaking. However, the fact that the concerns about different areas have either remained the same – or have increased – tells us that the industry must continue working together on full adoption of third-party verification, proprietary controls and new technological solutions.”