The dust has largely settled after March’s brand safety scandal – however the problem hasn’t gone away. Although some brands are reported to have returned to Google advertising by May, others – including Pepsi, Tesco, and Marks & Spencer – were still waiting for solid guarantees from Google over and above what has already been promised.
The changes Google says it has already taken to improve brand safety haven’t been bedded in, aren’t sufficient for some brands, and still lack a vital component – third party verification. Google has promised to deliver such verification in the future, but before it’s implemented, marketers refusing to risk their brand reputation are opting for ad providers who can make promises on where their ads will appear as well as delivering third party verified monitoring and reporting on where ad creative actually did appear.
Third party monitoring, reporting and verification is imperative, of course, but it can really only help brands, publishers and ad tech companies to react to any concerning ad placement. Many brands would prefer a zero tolerance for any ad misplacement rather than an acceptance that misplacement will happen from time to time. Those marketers are likely to be the ones who focus their ad buying and planning on ad campaigns bought directly from ad inventory providers or, at very least, non-blind programmatic ad campaigns.