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Our New Research Shows That 90% Marketers Consider Brand Safety A Serious Problem

PUBLISH DATE: 30 June 2020
brand safety and suitability

Brand marketers and Agency Heads across Southeast Asia believe ad placements across harmful content damage brand perception and result in revenue loss.

The brand safety crisis, that first caught the attention of advertisers in a major way back in 2017, is even more real today. With millions of pieces of user generated visual content added to video sharing platforms daily, brand safety has taken centre stage in the video advertising world.

Like every crisis, this has also resulted in practical and workable solutions that have provided a semblance of control to advertisers in varying degrees. However, some of the most widely used brand safety measures including blocklists, whitelisted channels/pages, third-party measurement and brand safety specialists, bring along their own set of efficiencies and pitfalls. A debate that gained more weight recently as Coronavirus topped keyword blocklists, squeezing ad revenues and killing brand reach.

In In an attempt to understand how leading marketers and brands perceive and mitigate brand safety risks, we surveyed 160+ agency heads, business leads in media and brand marketers in Southeast Asia.

This survey report highlights some of the brands’ biggest challenges with available brand safety measures and a pulse on the growing importance of and readiness for brand suitability. Key highlights from the report include:

  • Video platforms offer more brand safety controls, but continue to remain brand unsafe, with Tik Tok leading followed by Facebook and YouTube. This was further solidified with another research when earlier this year Silverpush analysed ~15 million videos across video sharing and hosting platforms in SEA, and found nearly 8–9% of all content as brand unsafe: featuring violence, smoking, adult, and extremist content. Which means that 1 in every 10 video ad placements can potentially be across harmful and damaging content.
  • ~90% industry professionals believe unsafe exposure impacts brand perception negatively, and 62% believe the extent of this damage is highly negative.
  • ~60% respondents believe brand safety risks can result into revenue loss ranging from reduced buying to complete boycott of the brand.
  • Blocklists and whitelists remain top brand safety measures. Contextual targeting-based techniques involving NLP based technologies and in-video context detection are emerging.
  • However, 60% said that using current brand safety measures result in inability to reach specific audience.
  • ~63% industry professionals stated lack of customized exclusion filters that can meet unique brand needs as the most pressing brand safety challenge, highlighting the importance of brand suitability.

The report further talks about how challenges of the current brand safety measures resulted in killing reach and monetization during COVID-19. And further highlights the growing importance of brand suitability, solutions brand and agencies seek, and the emergence of AI powered context detection technology.

Access the full report here.

How are brands responding to COVID-19? A brand marketer survey across SEA market

PUBLISH DATE: 14 May 2020
survey

Brands have been profoundly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Brands’ response to the coronavirus pandemic not only impacts consumers’ trust today, but it will also significantly impact future purchasing decisions. Moreover, brands could face irreparable damage to their reputation due to brand safety risks associated with COVID-19 related content.

To gain insight into how brands are responding to COVID-19 pandemic, Silverpush conducted a survey of 150+ agency heads, business leads in media, and brand marketers in the SEA region in April 2020.

The survey aimed to understand how brands are adapting their marketing strategies to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and how they are mitigating the very real brand safety risks the rapidly growing coronavirus related content consumption poses.

How are brands re-imaging and engaging consumers in light of the pandemic?

The survey found that in the light of the pandemic, brands are reimaging by adapting their marketing tone and initiatives to consumer expectations. Only 5% respondents reported no change in brand positioning pre and post COVID-19, whereas 95% reported a distinct shift that resonates with government policies, and responds to the new consumer expectation.

Ad spending poised to decline

The industries heavily impacted by coronavirus outbreak such as travel, hospitality, physical retail and more have and will continue to paused marketing initiatives. Only 16% respondents said these industries will protect marketing budgets for a stronger comeback later.

Moreover, the survey indicates that it is unlikely that the industries such as health and FMCG that are currently experiencing higher demand will increase marketing spend to capture the demand more aggressively. Even though past recessions have shown that aggressive cuts in ad spends can lead to longer recovery cycles.

Ad Spends are shifting to digital channels

Even with significantly increased TV viewership across SEA, boosted due to government-imposed lockdowns across the region, and various studies indicating curtailed TV ad spends can adversely affect brand health measures – only 2% respondents said brands are spending more on TV and mainstream media, and a large percentage indicated rapid shift to various digital channels.

Brand safety is a key concern, and is driving ad spend cuts

Industries, except few such as health, hygiene, pharma, etc., are stringently avoiding advertising across COVID-19 related content. Publisher news sites and news channels on platforms like YouTube are facing advertisers’ block-lists due to coronavirus-related coverage.

A measure of advertisers’ confidence on brand safety tools is depicted by how despite using third party tools to ensure safe ad placements, brands are reducing marketing budgets and pausing advertising specifically to avoid association with Coronavirus related content.

71% respondents reported brands are reducing marketing budgets ranging from complete halt of marketing spends leading to up-to 80% budget cuts, in order to avoid running ads across coronavirus related content

Can context relevance be the answer?  

Emerging AI powered solutions are increasingly focusing on providing context relevance, and are fast becoming an answer to brand safety woes. AI enables processing of large volumes of data at speed, with better context, at higher scale and improved targeting efficiencies.

However, most of these contextual targeting solutions still depend on the use of NLP and semantic analysis, not truly understanding the sub-text, nuanced contexts, and complex relationship words have in written or spoken language.

AI and computer vision-powered video advertising solutions can detect in-video contexts, offering a higher degree of context relevance that surpasses limitations of traditional keyword targeting and NLP based technologies. They offer unparalleled insight for advertisers to place context-relevant in-video ads and exclude unsafe content in a highly structured manner, and at the scale programmatic has traditionally offered.

computer vision

You can access the full report ‘Brand Response to COVID-19 in SEA’ for detailed insights from the survey.

Silverpush Creates Award-Winning Campaigns with Top Brands In MENA

PUBLISH DATE: 05 March 2020
Silverpush Creates Award-Winning Campaigns with Top Brands In MENA 2

Wins 4 MMA MENA Smarties awards across 3 key categories – innovation, cross-device and programmatic.

The outstanding campaigns created by Silverpush performed brilliantly at the MMA MENA Smarties Awards ceremony held on February 10th at Five Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, by winning one Gold, two Silvers and one Bronze.

Signal and Magna Global & Silverpush won a Gold award under the cross media category for the Signal – UNICEF campaign. Again, for the cross media category, Nissan Middle East and OMD UAE & Silverpush won a Silver for the Nissan Middle East – Cricket World Cup Live Sports SYNC campaign. Telfast (Sanofi) and Mindshare & Silverpush won a Silver and Bronze for the Telfast Weather Sync *Achoo* campaign under the programmatic and innovation categories respectively.

Silverpush Creates Award-Winning Campaigns with Top Brands In MENA

All of the campaigns were powered by Silverpush’s real-time moment marketing platform – Parallels. Parallels enables effective real-time TV ad sync and real-time live moments sync.

Signal partnered with Magna Global and Silverpush to launch a CSR UNICEF campaign to promote oral health in Egypt. Silverpush created a real-time ad sync between Signal toothpaste commercial on local Egyptian TV and Signal’s ad on high-reach social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram. Thus, those viewers that shifted their focus to their smartphones during ad-breaks were effectively targeted. The TV commercial promoted dental hygiene to kids while the ad on social media platforms delivered message about the product benefits. Apart from self-sync, Silverpush also created a competition-sync to show Signal’s ad on Facebook and Instagram when a competitor’s toothpaste ad aired on the TV.

The campaign turned out to be highly effective. The campaign achieved a video view rate of 28%, which was 4 times higher than obtained with non-sync campaign. Post-engagement rate of 28.5% was achieved which significantly surpassed the earlier rate of 0.07%. The completed view rate that started with 49% reached a whopping 72% by the end of the campaign. What is worth noting and interesting is that out of the total video views delivered, 73% were watched with sound on. The campaign achieved an impressive estimated ad recall lift rate of 7.3%.

Silverpush Creates Award-Winning Campaigns with Top Brands In MENA 1

For Nissan’s campaign, Silverpush leveraged its real-time live sports sync technology. For four years, Nissan has been the sponsor of the International Cricket Council. To strengthen the association of Nissan with cricket, Silverpush ran a campaign during the World Cup on Facebook.

Silverpush found that only 15 decisive minutes of the game get debated again and again. These are the best moments for connecting a brand with the consumers. Silverpush capitalized on these moments by syncing them with the relevant content on the Facebook. Being related to the key game moments, this content was found more engaging by the fans and made Nissan a part of this engaging experience. Nissans’s brand relevance rose by 21%, purchase intent increased by 5% and brand image improved by 10%.

For Sanofi’s anti-allergic Telfast tablets, Silverpush ran a moment marketing campaign, powered by weather sync technology, in the Middle East. In the Middle East, weather changes frequently, even during the same day. Due to this, people there are affected by allergic rhinitis all year long, unlike those in other parts of the world.

Silverpush identified specific weather conditions that lead to a surge in allergic rhinitis. Depending upon the weather conditions and other triggers such as dust, mold, mites, etc., the most relevant ad messages were communicated to consumers in real time. The results of the campaign were highly impressive. Over double-digit growth in sales occurred during the campaign duration. The view rates touched the sky and the ads that ran only during the weather triggers performed 85 times better than others. Trigger targeting increased the click-through rate by 111%.

Silverpush’s prime focus has always been to deliver highly effective campaigns through its innovative technology to provide unprecedented reach and user engagement to brands and impactful brand experience to users. Silverpush’s award-winning campaigns serve as a testimony to this fact.

Why Demise of Third-Party Cookies Can Make Marketing Great Again

PUBLISH DATE: 05 March 2020
Why-Demise-of-Third-Party-Cookies-Can-Make-Marketing-Great-Again1

As privacy becomes a high priority for world’s biggest advertising platforms, its time next gen AI powered contextual targeting solutions pave the way.

Google is finally blocking third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser. Though this will be a gradual phase out, the process has already begun — Google Chrome is to limit cross-site tracking by default starting February 2020, planned with the release of Chrome 80.

This move is not a complete surprise, given the privacy controls and the new anti-fingerprinting technology Google announced for Chrome in May 2019[1]. This also forms part of Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox initiative launched in August 2019[2], where it invited the industry to co-create new open web standards that advance privacy while continuing to support the free internet.

Some could call this a response to competitive pressure, or more importantly a step to meet user demand for higher privacy. Others debate that this is a calculated move that gives Google a great privacy story line, and at the same time further strengthens its hold in the digital ads industry with the access to all first-party data. Third-party advertisers will now need to get on Google’s ad network to receive the data that will help them target the right users.

But the fact remains that demise of third-party cookies is now real with a defined timeline. And it’s not necessarily bad.

What wasn’t great about third party cookies to begin with

1. Cookie matching, used for syncing cookies to identify a unique user, isn’t perfect. When a cookie from one site is not passed to an advertising platform (which happens in 40 to 60% cases), a part of the puzzle to create an appropriate match is missed.

2. Cookies only enable limited ‘matching’ capabilities, and doesn’t unify the massive amount of data that needs to be synced across the advertising ecosystem for earnest personalized experiences.

3. Cookies are device-based, so when someone goes from desktop to mobile or switches browsers, the consumer journey remains incomplete. A 2018 study[1] found that when multiple device identifiers are connected to a single person, unique reach is 50% less than measured by only cookie-based or device-based identifiers. Meaning, only 50% of the unique audience assumed to be reached is real.

4. Because there are far fewer people seeing your ads, people who were getting the ads are actually seeing far more of them. Meaning, your target audience is getting about 2x the number of intended ads.

5. Also, a majority of tracking cookies are already rejected by browsers anyway. Over 66% of mobile devices don’t accept cookies[3] leading to marketers already missing out on a very important audience segment, mobile users. Leading advertisers to wasteful ad spend by targeting unnecessary impressions.

6. Moreover, cookies place over-reliance on the bottom funnel, with ad placements that cannot effectively convey the brand’s message in cluttered environments.

How Marketers can benefit from a cookie-less digital world

Cookies rely on immediate short-term performance, leveraging ever-decreasing pools of audiences. Marketers will now have to return to people-based marketing, recognizing their audience as people and not cookie pools.

Context-based media buying will emerge to fill this gap, seeking out environments where the target audiences congregate. Marketers will be able to leverage quality, first-party data rather than paying for suspect third-party data of questionable origin and effectiveness.

However, there is a generation of marketers that will still be habitually looking for last-click performance. Google is still giving out hope to this segment. Google’s outlined Privacy Sandbox could still offer users tracking models, with greater privacy of course. And, then there will be alternative solutions as other stakeholders in the ecosystem join forces to find a way to deliver targeted ad experiences across sites in a cookie-less environment. There is every reason to believe that targeting and attribution will still be possible, but the mechanisms will need to radically change.

What are the options as of now?

A cookie less future is not as bleak as it sounds. Marketers already have options available, some of these include panel-based attribution, universal IDs and contextual advertising.

Panel-based attribution

It gives a picture of online behavior of users over long periods of time. It allows advertisers to effectively map demographics and segments, understand user behavior and find users with similarities to customers. The panel-based attribution faces some fundamental challenges such as difficulty in working at a viable level, difficulty in extrapolating large and dispersed audiences, and problems with data efficacy.

Universal ID

This involves identification of users based on deterministic matching. This is in contrast to probabilistic matching approach used by cookies. But this will require collaboration between the vendors along with the development of standards.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual advertising allows advertisers to place ads based on-page contextual triggers, rather than affinities and past browsing behavior. This method displays only those ads that are relevant to the content, and hence, increases engagement by capitalizing on the user’s current state of mind. For example, if a brand wants to sell its kitchen mixer, then it can have its ads placed on websites that have content about kitchen mixers, kitchen appliances, recipes, food items that involves use of mixers etc.

In the post-cookie world, contextual advertising will be the most viable advertising strategy. Not only does it significantly increase user engagement, but also bypasses use of personal data and user privacy breach.

AI and computer vision is powering the next gen contextual targeting

Traditionally contextual advertising has been built around natural language processing (NLP), placing ads by detecting text-based contexts. This is how Google banner ads also work. But NLP is not a perfect science, considering complex nature of human language, where words can convey different meanings and intentions — difficult for a machine to understand.

Emerging AI and computer vision powered tech now offers immense contextual possibilities, which are much more relevant. Contextual in-image and in-video advertising involves displaying ads for a page or video in-line with the content the user is actively engaging with. For example, in a streaming video, the tech can recognize a scene (i.e. someone holding a pair of Nike shoes, or a brand logo) and a relevant ad can appear alongside it.

Computer vision powered context detection completely transcends use of cookies and or any personal data. Making contextual targeting future ready, even on platforms like Facebook and YouTube— as these platforms come as much in the purview of data infringement as the third-party cookies today do. And will most likely move to privacy enabled advertising models in the future.

Sources and references

[1] Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/22/google-proposes-new-privacy-and-anti-fingerprinting-controls-for-the-web/

[2] Source: https://www.blog.google/products/chrome/building-a-more-private-web/

[3] Source: https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/ads/new-study-uncovers-cookie-and-devicebased-measurement-flaws/

[4] Source: https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/marketers-predict-death-cookie-based-advertising-2018/1422973