It took a second read of the “Lets Talk About The Brand Safety Tax” column in AdExchanger last Tuesday to catch this:
It’s a small price to pay, said John Montgomery, global EVP of brand safety at GroupM, running somewhere between two and 10 cents per thousand impressions for brand safety protection when it’s bundled in with viewability and anti-fraud measures from the same provider.
Notice that title? Why in the world does an agency need a global EVP of brand safety?
Do the account people or media planners and buyers understand what’s on-brand and what’s off-brand? Do the clients understand or clearly articulate what types of media are appropriate for their organizations?
An EVP of brand safety, plus the staff in that organization can’t be cheap. And the clients are paying for it. Once upon a time, you could trust your agency, like a physician, to “first, do no harm.” Now, you’ve got to have an in-house babysitter to catch the harm after the fact.
If the existence of EVP-level “brand safety” people at agencies isn’t a good example of what’s wrong with digital advertising, I don’t know what is.
Takeaway: Chasing “audiences” at the cheapest CPMs, with no segmentation strategy, is the root cause of brand safety problems. Think like a marketer. If it’s too good to be true, it is. Be skeptical, always. And win.