Demi Abiola, PHD UK’s Publishing Director, writes for WARC on the impact of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement on how advertisers approach brand safety, and what it means for publishing brands.

The first half of 2020 has unearthed a crisis of morality and conscience around the world, not driven by money but a sense of doing the right thing. There is a renewed sense of collective responsibility – ‘If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem’.

So, has the role of publishing brands in the brand safety conversation changed as a result?

I’d say yes. It’s made them more important than ever.

Publishing brands have long held the twin pillars of trust and transparency at their core. The ability for advertisers to control placement in environments that are trusted by audience and advertiser alike must surely be more desirable in the current climate.

Publishers themselves need to once again reassert the three indomitable qualities which define their place in the media mix: scale, context and fairness.

Scale

Since lockdown, total monthly market audiences have surpassed 50 million with publisher subscriptions rising to highest ever levels, equating to >94% of the 15+ GB population (Source: PAMCo 2 2020 Apr 19 – Mar 20).

Context

There are three main contextual factors that have an impact on advertising performance:

  • Attention: Whether people see the ads and for how long they engage with them.
  • Relevance: The degree to which the advertising mirrors the content or brand values of the medium carrying the advertising.
  • Trust: The trustworthiness of the media environment and its impact on the trustworthiness of the advertiser.

Fairness

In a world where holding power to account and exposing wrongs has never been more important or had more impact, this is not the time to forget that advertising money spent with news brands funds their ability to be champions of truth and fairness, to hold those in power to account and promote the plights of those who have no voice.

Right now, it’s more important than ever that publishers remind advertisers of their brands’ elevated importance in an era of social change and heightened focus on brand safety.

And it’s just as important that advertisers take the time to hear them out.

Read Demi Abiola’s full article on warc.com. To read Demi Abiola’s full article for warc.com.