The report highlights social, technological and political factors that will impact brand safety in future A new brand safety report released by GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, offers new category-specific recommendations for marketers on the future of brand safety. As policy shifts, political winds and the global pandemic impact advertising, brand safety opportunities and risks are evolving just as quickly to keep pace. "Traditionally, most brand safety risk was limited to digital—programmatic and social. Now, with established media digitizing and reinventing themselves, opportunities to improve brand safety practices are appearing across new avenues. Combined, these factors yield new challenges for established media and old challenges for new media," reads the report. The report reveals how brand safety may evolve into the future within the context of political, social and technological shifts, impacting brand safety at a high level. Then looks to specific challenges in five categories currently undergoing rapid transformation: Connected TV, Digital Out-of-Home, Location Data, Audio and Gaming. “In the first six months of 2020 alone, CCPA has taken effect, Google announced they would be phasing out third cookies, the home stretch of the 2020 presidential campaign has come into full focus – increasing the attention on fake news – the world has been hit with a global pandemic and most recently protests related to racial inequality,” said John Montgomery, GroupM Global EVP, Brand Safety. “Each of these events marks a unique opportunity to continue to challenge our brand safety practices. And, as people continue to evolve in how they consume content, there is always opportunity to push the envelope to create an even safer, more trustworthy online world. We look forward to continuing to do that for our clients and partners.” Some of the key items to consider in the evolution of brand safety: ? Policy shifts such as GDPR and CCPA, among many others around the world, have created a seismic ripple throughout the industry, the full effects of which are yet to be felt. As old measurement methodologies such as third-party cookies fall away, the industry has an opportunity to collectively create better standards. ? The COVID-19 pandemic has established a ‘new normal’ ‘digital first’ lifestyle for the majority of the global population. Consumption habits have changed (more news, gaming and streaming content). Where consumers go, advertising follows and, with it, new opportunities to strengthen brand safety measures arise. Aggressive keyword avoidance demonetizes online news, especially so during the COVID crisis, as the audiences increase and at a time when the public needs reliable information. Local news faces an existential crisis. ? Fake news and technologies that create deepfake videos are growing more sophisticated and threaten to further erode institutional trust. Brands must be more proactive than ever in preserving their core assets and demand transparency in all transactions. ? Too much brand safety is also a concern. As brands work to preserve their equity and authenticity, they should beware of becoming overly cautious. Doing so may decrease the impact of overall performance. ? Connected TV promises to command a larger share of budget in the coming years. However, measurement is fragmented across devices and publishers. Brands should demand greater transparency and interoperability among key players. ? Digital Out-of-Home is set to grow more advanced and complex as programmatic buying becomes more commonplace. While out-of-home has long been used for broad awareness, it remains an open question as to whether brands will have—or need—access to more granular targeting and measurement solutions. ? Precise location data is a sensitive issue that will require additional due diligence. The development of location verification services and aggregate learnings could mitigate some risk unless personal data becomes less available. ? Audio is growing as streaming music and podcasts become further entrenched in consumers’ lives. Currently, advertiser controls are in their nascence, and brand suitability/adjacency remains a concern, particularly in the world of podcasts, where content standards remain loose across the board. ? Gaming presents a huge opportunity in terms of audience, but brands must navigate a vast landscape of platforms, titles, player personalities and publisher relationships. Esports continues to grow in popularity, but brands must be aware of adjacency risks (violence and language, particularly). If people continue to stay home in the aftermath of the coronavirus, gaming audiences will retain some of the recent, rapid growth. ? Fundamentals still matter. As brand safety continues to shift and evolve with media and technology, brands must not lose sight of established best practices, which serve as a vital North Star in uncertain times. “Consumers and brands use technology to access media in new and interesting ways,” said Christian Juhl, GroupM Global CEO. “As behaviours, habits and preferences shift with social factors, responsible brand safety requires a constant assessment of these changes and their impact on how brands continually earn consumer trust. GroupM has long acted as an industry advocate in shaping how we manage brand safety across new and established media partners. It’s never been more important than it is now, and we stand by our commitment with this latest guidance.” Talking about the opportunities and challenges, on Connected TV, the report states, “After the COVID-19 stay-at-home, people’s viewing behaviors will be changed. This could lead to more opportunities to talk to the right person based on location, interests, and within contextually relevant content.” About challenges, it states that measurement varies by device and that ads can appear to support content that dosen't allign with brand values. Also, fraud here happens without vetting. On the opportunity for Digitl OOH, it mentions, “Seeing the way China’s invested in out-of-home media owners makes an intriguing case for my brand to be back outdoors too.” For the obstacle, it says the fragmentation leads to complexity in measurement. Coming to opportunities of location data, the report mentions, “When people share their location, our brand can talk with them in a way that adds much more value. When you get it right, you can create a meaningful moment in the right place that people truly appreciate.” But performing enough due deligence to keep consumer data as protected as possible is the challenge releated to location data. When it comes to audio, the opportunity is that "audio is intricately linked to our minds. Music can change our mood and a good podcast can keep us sitting in our driveway. It’s a great place for a brand to create an emotional connection with people.” But planning for adjacency, measurement an how user controls might shrink the potential audio audience reach are the challenges. On the gaming category, the report states, “e-Sports competitions award more prize money than Wimbledon. That means the right brand experience reached a devoted fan base that are also passionate players themselves.” Fragmentation, mesurement, monitoring, and understanding the suitbility of the gameplay are the challengs associated with gaming.