By 2020, a majority of survey participants say brand suitability will be equally or more important to them than brand safety. Why? The answers aren’t the same for everyone. In order to widen the discussion to the greater advertising industry,  IAS partnered with Digiday to lead a study establishing where industry priorities currently lie. 

The findings show that while the majority of marketers understand that there are key differences between safety and suitability, further education is needed, as 27% of digital media professionals responded that the two are the same.

The participants also acknowledged how both can be just as detrimental to their bottom line if neglected. Beyond the missed opportunity that can come from an overly-strict brand safety approach, 44% of participants reported they have lost revenue from a brand suitability incident. 

While some interesting moments of consensus were reached in the survey, there was no absolute majority found in any of the responses. Additionally, across all of the questions posed to participants, one answer seemed to crop up more than we would hope: “I don’t know.” In order to usher in the next phase of brand suitability in 2020, we’ll need significant educational efforts. In posing the question of who should be leading this brand suitability charge, the responses were characteristically varied, but suggest that every major player in the digital ad market bears some of the responsibility.

Ultimately, for all of the seemingly conflicting insights gathered in our report, there was one crucial outcome from the industry participants, whether brand or agency, publisher or tech providers.  Every major indicator in our survey edged further from satisfaction when we shifted from safety to suitability – and further from understanding, as well. 

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