The impact of programmatic media buying and automated digital advertising on brand reputation, consumer perception and customer trust will continue to present major challenges for the advertising industry in the coming year.
"We're all trying to solve the problem of where did the trust go," said Liz Miller, vice president of marketing at the CMO Council. "The metrics we used to call successful, we don't necessarily trust anymore."
The report, Brand Protection From Digital Content Infection: Safeguarding Brand Reputation Through Diligent Ad Channel Selection, analyzes the impact of digital advertising experiences on consumer perceptions and purchase intent.
Released Tuesday from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Dow Jones, the report highlights the loss of trust between marketers and agencies, agencies and publishers, and brands and customers by gathering insights from 300 senior marketers, along with perspectives from among the CMO Council's more than 13,000 members.
This coming year, brands and agencies will face new scrutiny as the industry calls for tighter controls, greater visibility and a renewed commitment to brand safety and reputation management.
"Consumers say their perception of a brand changes when their ads appear on sites they don't trust or next to questionable content," she said.
In the study, 63% of consumers said they respond more positively to the same ads when they find them in more established and trusted media environments.
The findings, released during this year's Advertising Week in New York City, call into question the merits and flaws of the $40 billion programmatic advertising market, especially the risks of digital display ads appearing alongside objectionable content. About 72% of brand advertisers engaged in programmatic buying are concerned about brand integrity and control in digital display placement.
In an effort to improve trust across the advertising supply chain, 48% of marketers said they will develop digital advertising guidelines for their agency and ad-buying networks. Some 37% said they will rely on their media-buying firm to better manage and control placements, and 32% said they will focus on tracking and monitoring digital ad placements internally.
Some 27% said they will move to programmatic direct buys and private exchanges rather than bidding in open exchanges, and 24% said they will develop whitelists of pre-approved publishing channels and reputable content and editorial channels.