Free Press and Advertising: Webinar Q&A

We answered questions from our Free Press, Advertising, and the Future of Democracy webinar attendees

05/05 By IAS Team

In the wake of fake news and terrorism, many advertisers have stepped away from running their ads alongside hard news because of the risk to their brand reputation. Advertisers have played a crucial role in supporting media and ultimately free press as a whole, but this recent shift in behavior by advertisers is causing a ripple effect throughout the publishing industry and shaking the very foundation of our democracy.

In our virtual panel, IAS and key media players discuss what brands can do to make sure they are not aligning with misinformation. Fill out the form below to watch on-demand now.

Tony Marlow, Chief Marketing Office, Integral Ad Science

Yale Cohen, Executive Vice President, Global Activation Standards, Publicis Media Exchange
James Hercher, Senior Reporter, AdExchanger
Ryan Spicer, Vice President, Sales & Client Partnerships at WarnerMedia (CNN)

Continue on to read our answers to attendee questions. To watch a recording of the webinar on-demand, fill out the form below.

What steps do you recommend to ensure ad dollars are making their way to legitimate and vital sources of news and information?

Working with trusted verification partners is an essential step toward ensuring your ads appear in quality environments. Accuracy in news requires content-level granularity, proactive categorization, and processing speed. Partner with an ad verification vendor to validate inventory quality and instill confidence that you’re buying ad space on verified brand safe and fraud-free sites.

In addition to a news-specific crawler, IAS offers an ‘Offensive Language’ category which refers to pages that contain offensive terms, insults, swear words, vulgar terms, or religious blasphemy. It also covers domains like ‘fake science’ or other conspiracies, which helps to ensure the quality of news environments. Advertisers can use this category to prevent delivery to unwanted domains, along with pre-bid filtering in most DSPs.

Finally, the IAB’s Ads.txt initiative has increased transparency of inventory flow in the online advertising ecosystem. Ads.txt allows ad tech players to publicly declare other parties that are authorized sellers or resellers of their digital inventory. The initiative drove a whopping 60% adoption rate by top tier publishers. The Ads.txt initiative was a game-changer in the battle against domain spoofing, which is a practice where low quality or fake inventory is passed off as regular, verifiable websites.

How can we ensure we’re supporting quality news?

As always, we advise advertisers to revisit and scrub their domain and keyword lists frequently to ensure that scale is not restricted by an ever-increasing list of outdated blocked terms. Overblocking through both domain exclusion lists and keyword blocklists presents a threat to quality news publishers–which is the opposite of providing support. Another important reminder is to use inclusion lists. In the same way that domain and keyword lists should be frequently assessed, inclusion lists should be actively employed and reviewed to make sure that trusted, quality sites are included.

Marketers should also consider taking a look at all of their campaign KPIs and make sure these goals have flexibility to adjust. Aiming for too many standards or near-perfect viewability, for example, has the potential to limit reach and make it harder on publishers during these challenging times. Creating space for adjustments across all campaign parameters will ensure that quality publishers remain eligible players.

Right now, trust is essential. Advertisers and publishers should treat each other as partners, and keep in mind that strategy changes affect all elements of the digital advertising ecosystem.

How can we persuade advertisers that their support of the news media is an urgent crisis?

The public relies on quality journalism to keep them safe and well-informed, especially during times of uncertainty, and the role of advertising in ensuring that independent journalism stays alive is critical. Right now, it’s important for advertisers to understand that brand suitability isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Implementing a holistic, multi-pronged approach will not only be key to reaching consumers in the right environments, but will also help support publishers by allowing for more flexibility. Establishing communication throughout the digital advertising ecosystem and ensuring all players are educated on the technology available to them will help encourage collaboration and transparency in this unprecedented time.

Read more about how to navigate brand suitability here.

How are consumers responding to brands that advertise alongside COVID content?

IAS conducted two recent studies to explore consumer sentiment toward ads that appear alongside coronavirus content. In Coronavirus Ad Adjacency, IAS found that when seeking information on coronavirus, 90% of consumers prefer premium, recognizable sites.

Additionally, IAS explored whether consumer perception is influenced by the sentiment of news headlines. Consumers were shown coronavirus news with positive, neutral, and negative headlines. As the sentiment of the headlines became more positive, so did consumers’ reactions to them. In the current climate, consumers don’t expect brands to stop advertising, but they do recognize when brands make the effort to appear in suitable environments.

Download our study to learn more about consumer perceptions toward coronavirus ad adjacency.

If most consumers now expect access to premium content for free, how do you manage the relationship with the average user as privacy laws and other related issues continue to evolve?

In an upcoming study exploring consumer privacy preference, IAS found that the majority of consumers understand that their data is being used for advertising purposes. More importantly, 53% of consumers prefer contextual targeting practices over other methods of targeted advertising. That’s good news for advertisers, since increasing legislation and the upcoming deprecation of the cookie will require a shift toward more innovative, contextual targeting practices to reach consumers in the right places and the right times.

To learn more, fill out the form below or check out our On-Demand Webinars here.

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