Webinar with IAB Europe, Sky & GroupM

07/02 By Kate Grosvenor

COVID-19 has presented choppy and unchartered waters for everyone, worldwide. In the digital advertising industry, it has been no different. Changes to brand strategy, reduction in spend and reactive decisions have left us all navigating the unknown.

Three months into this global pandemic, the digital advertising industry continues to seek guidance for today, whilst preparing for tomorrow. Our latest webinar, in partnership with IAB Europe, addresses these topics, along with discussion from industry leaders and our partners, Sky and GroupM.

We set the scene of the webinar, by reviewing some of the latest research from IAS. 

  • Showing the importance of context and adjacency for consumers in advertising, stats from the Ripple Effect show 91% of UK consumers want ads placed near high quality content, and 88% find it annoying when a brand appears near low quality content
  • Our COVID-19 report highlighted how 81% of people are actively seeking out coronavirus content, with one in ten (11%) stating they’d feel more favourable towards a brand whose ad appeared near that content
  • Nearly of half of consumers (48%) in our Consumer Privacy Study said they prefer contextually targeted advertising

In summary, ads placed in high quality, contextually relevant environments are likely to be better received by an audience, whilst there is no damage to brands appearing next to Coronavirus content, as long as context is considered with this placement. 

We then moved on to a panel discussion to address questions from the audience and topical themes.

Focus on quality

  • GroupM discussed the need to continue to invest in quality content that is highly viewable, in a suitable, brand safe and fraud free environment. Sky highlighted the need to focus on understanding where the quality media is and how it can be matched to the business goals

Analyse your data

  • Sky addressed the need to continue to test with publishers, and understand the data that they have fully, particularly as we head towards a ‘new’ and post-pandemic future. IAS then discussed how comparing the success metrics and observing which environments are most effective for a brand can support a campaign that generates the best results

Brand Suitability & COVID-19

  • GroupM moved on to discussing brand suitability and the need to get it right. Sky addressed an interesting point of ensuring that there is a diversity of thought in the room when dictating the suitability (and safety) threshold for a brand. Sky mentioned that there was a heightened interest in brand safety in light of COVID-19, with their business making a decision to not blanket block COVID-19 related content, and instead only block specific content e.g. false news, such as ‘miracle cures’. In addition, the need to support quality publishers was also addressed, with the news now – and always – a crucial part of our society. The panel agreed how lockdown had increased the role of content in people’s lives and that the responsibility of an advertiser is to fund quality news sites

A demand for publisher data

  • GroupM then highlighted how publishers could share more studies and research on the levels of engagement on hard news, and how this can help brands drive sales and revenue. This insight would help advertisers and agencies make better, more informed decisions, rooted in data. Publishers who can share granularity of data and insight into context and sentiment will succeed now and in the future, highlighted IAS, stating behavioural segments are not enough

Onwards & upwards!

  • The webinar ended by discussing what is driving positive change in the verification space. GroupM said it was collaboration across the whole industry, Sky said that lack of complacency and consistency in readdressing how we can continue to improve the verification space has been key, whilst IAS said that transparency of performance, with regards to the level of insights and metrics publishers can access and share, has been crucial in moving the industry forward

We’d like to thank IAB Europe, Sky and GroupM for participating in this fantastic webinar. 

For more information on brand suitability and the impact of COVID-19 on the digital advertising industry, please visit: