Digital experts have dismissed a report by The Sun newspaper that household brands routinely appear on content devoted to paedophilia, incest and bestiality by claiming they are likely to be the “odd single impression, not thousands”.
Concerns over ad misplacement have been raging for years, as most ads are placed automatically on the basis of keywords. But the online ad industry claims it is working hard to tackle the issue and up to 90% of the digital display market is now covered by safe practice.
The newspaper named Marks & Spencer, British Gas, O2, B&Q, Asda, Cillit Bang, Royal Ascot and Accessorize as among more than a dozen top brands which have appeared alongside highly offensive and inappropriate content on websites.
The Sun suggests the name Cillit Bang was likely to have led to the brand appearing against content focused on rape and incest, while Royal Ascot’s links with horse-racing would have led to it being positioned on sites dedicated to bestiality.
The UK’s Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (Jicwebs) – the independent body that defines best practice and standards for online ad trading – has now signed up 41 companies and a further 33 have been verified.
These include most of the biggest ad platforms including Google’s DoubleClick, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft. Run through the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG), the process involves firms having their ad misplacement policies and processes verified by an independent third party.
Nigel Gwilliam, IPA’s consultant head of digital and emerging technologies, said: “The IPA Digital Media Group estimated DTSG signatories represented over two-thirds of the applicable digital display ad market by the end of 2014, growing to around 80%-90% this year.”
Meanwhile Niall Hogan, the UK managing director of Integral Ad Science, said many instances are being fuelled by buyers only using the basic monitoring tool set because they feel that the full suite is too expensive.
However, he added: “If an advertiser is working with a content verification tool, this could be the odd single impression, but not thousands of impressions.”
Online giants join ad safety plan
New scheme tackles web ad fraud
ISBA fights grisly ad placements
Data sparks rise in real-time ads
Clients on dark over online buying
Are marketers dazzled by digital?
Does digital measurement stack up?