Protecting brands: are you safe from fraud?

4:19 PM, 13 March 2017
Has your advertisement been overtaken by "terrorists"?

You may have noticed some recent headlines in the UK media about big brands funding terrorism.

There has been an outcry as ad placements from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft have been found on inappropriate sites and YouTube channels, including content from extreme terrorists and pornographers.

These big brands, of course, are pleading innocent. And we should believe them. After all, being associated with these types of industries is not perceived as a good business strategy.

Considerably, what is at fault is their online advertising placements. How did their advertisements land on these unsuitable sites in the first place?

The advertising examples uncovered are clearly indicative of a sector that has grown too fast to enable effective safeguards for protecting brands.

Protecting brands with better advertising placement

Photo courtesy of: Shannon Kringen


What can we do to protect our brands?

ANZA is adamant about establishing a refined system with clear cut advertising approaches.

With brands investing resources into protecting themselves and their customers, we need a better, more transparent process with how advertising placements are managed and where they appear.

When a brand is seen within inappropriate and/or offensive content, it is never the media platforms or intermediaries who are held responsible. The blame is solely placed on the brand owner.

Being associated with terrorism or pornography is unfair for brands who spend billions on advertising.

Something needs to be done. And quickly.


The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) responds

Stephan Loerke, chief executive officer of the World Federation of Advertisers, comments:

"Brands have been increasingly drawn to programmatic media's promise of efficiently delivering relevant content to people at the right time and place, at scale. This opportunity has seen investment in programmatic advertising increase dramatically.

A recent WFA study shows that this now, on average, represents 16% of our (large multinational) members' global budgets, up from 10% two years ago. Whilst this figure varies greatly by region, many other sources have reported an increase. MAGNA Global, for example, now values the global programmatic advertising market at $19.5 billion, up from $14.2 billion the year before.

Both we and our members are increasingly concerned about the lack of transparency in this ecosystem. This takes many forms; including brand misplacement (as highlighted in recent media reports) but also the endemic levels of ad fraud. Our recent study outlined the scale of the problem, conservatively estimating that 10-30% of all impressions are fraudulent."

As the WFA notes, a significant amount of web impressions are false. ANZA believes a more transparent and organised approach is needed for our industry. One where reliability exists amongst these damaging possibilities.

This activity is a much needed wake up call for the advertising industry. Until we are completely clear about how our online advertising ecosystem functions, we need to proceed carefully and thoughtfully.

You can read the WFA's entire statement on the issue here.

What are your views on these attacks on advertising? How can we prevent it from happening? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to lindsay@anza.co.nz

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