Despite Brand Safety Concerns, 78% of Marketers Buy Ads on at Least 50 Sites

Only 14% of marketers are already whitelisting sites

23 percent of marketers said that they had purchased ads on more than 1,000 sites for a campaign.
Getty Images

Even as marketers’ concerns about programmatic advertising’s technical and brand safety problems grow, brands are still regularly buying ads that run against dozens and even thousands of websites at once.

According to a new study from Advertiser Perceptions, 78 percent of marketers said that a recent digital or mobile campaign included ads that ran on more than 50 sites. Breaking down that 78 percent, 23 percent of marketers said that they had purchased ads on more than 1,000 sites for a campaign while 30 percent said that their ads ran on between 250 and 1,000 sites and 25 percent of advertisers said that their ads ran on 50 to 250 sites. One percent of marketers surveyed said that they had purchased ads that ran on more than 5,000 sites.

Advertiser Perceptions is releasing the research in conjunction with Advertising Week and includes interviews with roughly 200 advertisers about data, measurement and research.

When asked if advertisers have recently talked about “coring down” their digital and mobile campaigns to run on fewer websites, 63 percent of advertisers said that they had discussed whitelisting sites.

In terms of fraud, 52 percent of marketers estimated that they have lost 10 to 50 percent of marketing spend to fraud. The rest of marketers pegged the losses at less than 10 percent.

The research also digs into viewability and marketers’ thoughts on the Media Rating Council’s definition of viewability, which charges advertisers after 50 percent of a display ad is in view for one second and after a video ad is in view for two seconds. Per Advertiser Perceptions’ study, 44 percent of marketers feel that “the viewability standard is adequate and we do not pay for non-viewable ads.”

More granularly, 32 percent of marketers said that the amount of time that an ad is viewed is more important than the percentage of pixels loaded on a page. Only 6 percent of marketers said that the percentage of pixels loaded on a website is more important than viewable time and 62 percent said that both factors are equally important.

When asked how important an accreditation from the MRC is when determining if a publisher’s data is legit, 66 percent said that it was either very or somewhat important. 34 percent of marketers said that such data wasn’t important.

In terms of tools that aid making digital media-buying decisions, 52 percent of marketers ranked optimization as a ‘very important’ factor. For TV media buying, 38 percent of marketers said the same about audience analytics and measurement.

Participants were also asked which ‘audience insights’ were most important when making media-buying decisions, which include RFPs, proposals and negotiations. Seventy-seven percent of marketers said that insights that “generate actionable consumer insights that have bottom-line relevance to my business” were most important.

However, only 33 percent of marketers said that they “completely trusted” the data provided to them from partners. Another 49 percent of marketers said that data was “somewhat trustworthy,” and the remaining 19 percent of marketers considered data “not trustworthy.”