The importance of quality advertising placement
A view from Bethan Crockett

The importance of quality advertising placement

You get what you pay for in digital advertising, argues Bethan Crockett, senior director of brand safety and digital risk, EMEA, at Group M.

A few months ago, I joined a panel at the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) Inside Out event to discuss the launch of its new Quality Advertising Charter.

It struck me how important, in our multi data, tech and media industry, this and other advertising industry quality accreditations, such as the IAB Gold Standard, have become for much-needed quality reassurance. Everyone across the industry, quite rightly, wants guarantees that digital advertising will be housed in safe, high quality and relevant media environments.

Beyond reassurance commitment, I hope that accreditations such as the AOP charter ensure our industry is implementing tough guidelines and restrictions, pushing everyone to take responsibility to commit to achieving higher quality standards.

In this ever-evolving digital world – quality media environments are essential to all aspects of brand safety and ultimately campaign success - and in my view should be top of advertiser’s priority lists for three reasons:

1 - Quality context is second-to-none

At Group M, we only invest where an ad has a real opportunity to be seen, by a human, within the right target audience and in an appropriate editorial environment.

Our commitment to our clients applies across all media but receives the most attention across digital. We are committing to invest in viewable, fraud free, audience rich and contextually safe digital locations. As an advertiser, why wouldn’t this be a priority for your campaign?  

As the AOP quality charter sets out to promote premium verified quality audiences and inventory, we commit to engage and play our part in promoting premium advertising opportunities to our clients.

The AOP charter also calls for participating in industry standards including those set out by JICWEBS. We equally commit to upholding these standards and the same process of independent review and accreditation across our operating businesses.

Quality across all levels and channels of the campaign is key – and we won’t accept second best. So, why would you?

2 - You get what you pay for

There has been a focus in digital advertising on price over quality rather than quality over price. There has also been a belief that you can access the same inventory and audiences for lower prices if you know how to make the most of programmatic buying.

We prefer direct partnerships with quality publishers where we know we can validate jointly viewability, fraud, audience and context to evidence quality to clients.

We are working to share with our clients the need to move away from making decisions based on solely on gross cost-per-thousands (CPMs). We are demonstrating that these CPMs include percentages of never viewable or fraudulent or unsafe placements which is not reflecting within the CPM. We emphasise the need to make decisions on quality CPMs and to be prepared to pay for quality.

The resulting quality CPMs may be higher, but the impact and return on marketing objectives validates the importance of quality. Our role is very much to provide the research and case studies to back up this position and demonstrate premium, safe, in demo, viewable inventory delivers on our clients’ goals.

Isn’t it time you considered alternative ways to get the best result for your advertising campaign, through quality over quantity?

3 - It’s time to move away from a digital vicious cycle to a digital virtuous circle

I am sure you can envisage the cycle where low-quality ads on quality content detract from the consumer experience, or low quality ads on low quality content frustrate consumers, which leads to consumers seeking other sources for content or choosing to block ads.

The result is audience reduction, encouraging widespread buying across any and every channel, increasing the risk of exposure to fraud, poor viewability and non-brand safety placement without measurement and control. This leads often to lower performance against marketing metrics, impacts ROI, especially when ad fraud corrupts the results, places a downward pressure on CPMs and undermines the argument for investing in digital ads.

We can change through focus on quality. Let’s provide high quality ad experiences, which engage consumers and validate the value exchange between ads and access to free content, enabling us to provide known validated audiences. Engage and adopt industry best practices to limit opportunity for fraudsters, increase viewable placements and reduce risk from inappropriate content. The result will drive up performance, ROI and encourage recognition of quality CPMs.

Everyone across the industry benefits from supporting a digital virtuous circle – so let’s start to the make the change here and now.

We fully support the need for advertising quality and driving positive client and consumer ad experiences. There really is no better way to deliver industry-wide success for the future – you really do get what you pay for.