- The percentage of advertisers that apply corporate responsibility and brand values to media spending decisions has increased more than 20% from a year ago to 82%, per the 2021 Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report, which was emailed to Marketing Dive.
- More than half of advertisers (54%) will change how and where they spend media budgets to defund disinformation, and 59% will downgrade a media partner based on trust factors, with 40% already having done so this year.
- Overall, brand safety and related issues now top data misuse as advertisers' main concern, in a shift from 2020. In addition, 79% of advertisers believe platforms should be held more responsible for harmful content on their sites, including content posted by users.
The 2021 Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report demonstrates how advertisers' media spending decisions are changing to meet evolving consumers demands around brand safety and corporate responsibility, with growing support for quality media vetted by real people. The report is based on 250 advertisers interviews (66% agency, 34% marketer), suggesting that both agencies and brands are working to address these concerns.
"Corporate social responsibility and business ethics are now getting dedicated attention from the C-suite," Sarah Bolton, executive vice president of business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions, said in a statement. "Many business leaders are reassessing their companies' values and how well they're being upheld. They're increasingly not willing to accept performance at any cost."
While brand safety is the top trust-related issue that would lead to downgrading or pausing an ad partner, concerns about data and privacy have decreased in importance, with data security breaches a concern for 36% of respondents, down from 53%; consumer data privacy is a factor for 27%, down from 40%, and misuse of first-party data was pointed to by 30%, down from 31%. That these concerns have lost ground even as the data privacy landscape faces a host of regulation and platform policy changes underscores just how important brand safety is when considering ad partners. Still, more than three-quarters of advertisers say any use of personal data that consumers find invasive risks brand reputation.
In addition, while four in five advertisers believe brands need more oversight and control over who profits from ad placements, 77% say it's difficult to decipher who profits. Similarly, two-thirds believe advertising within legitimate news is brand safe, while 64% favor advertising outside of news sites to avoid brand safety issues. These contradictions suggest that brands and agencies are still figuring out how best to balance the needs of clients and consumers.
"Whereas advertisers had relied principally on brand safety technology to exclude problematic content, many are also prioritizing the inclusion of quality media that's vetted by people," Bolton said in the statement. "Importantly, this includes smaller media outlets that provide local news and information for diverse communities — which advertisers had overlooked in the blind pursuit of precision targeting at scale."