GM Thought of the Week: A Call to Arms for Digital Advertisers


GM Thought of the Week: A Call to Arms for Digital Advertisers

Over 50% of total UK ad spend in 2017 was digital, a statistic that would have been heard by almost every marketer in 2018. A statistic you wouldn’t have heard in 2018, despite many conversations on the topic, is how much of this spend was non-viewable, shown alongside brand damaging content or not shown at all despite being paid for.


Throughout its tenure, digital advertising has periodically been condemned by both the industry and national press for the objectionable practices it adopts to measure, deliver and review campaigns. The recent wave of stories around brand safety is one in a long line of issues to plague the sector so can you blame advertisers for concerns around the use of the channel?


The recent turbulence in the sector has provided a further wakeup call resulting in YouTube tightening up their advertising across their platform and them demonetising thousands of user channels that don’t meet their new brand safety guidelines. Facebook have also tightened up their processes by removing third party targeting data to ensure they are completely GDPR compliant across their site. But the biggest change in 2018 has been the Gold Standard accreditation created by the IAB, supported by digital media owners, in a bid to clean up digital advertising practises.


The accreditation calls all digital media owners and brands to reform the sector by following three simple but fundamental aims: –


1 – Reducing ad fraud through the implementation of, or demonstrating support for, the ads.txt initiative. This new initiative from IAB TechLab shows who is authorised to sell a specific site’s inventory and prevents the selling of spoofed or fake inventory.

2 – Improving the digital advertising experience by adhering to the LEAN principles and the standards set by the Coalition for Better Advertising and never using the 12 ‘bad ad’ formats that offer people a poor digital advertising experience in desktop web or mobile web environments.

3 – Increasing brand safety by working with JICWEBS to ensure that the Display Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Brand Safety Principles are valuable, applicable and continue to evolve with market expectations:


The initiative has had a positive uptake so far with 56 companies now certified and another 42 registered and undergoing their accreditation. The certification is a giant stride for digital advertising and one we at Generation Media are completely on board with but there is still a long way to go. We will be keeping a close eye on this list in the future when selecting media partners as it is important to ensure this better practice is universally adopted.


With trust and brand image so fundamental to brand’s success, agencies and brand owners need to be at the forefront pushing for better practises and ensuring partners are following suit if we want to build a sustainable future within digital advertising.


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