Brand safety remains a constant challenge

The Brand Safety Report from advertising associations IAB, LSA and SWA shows that in the first half of 2020, ads from 46 percent of the 100 largest Swiss advertisers were placed in digital environments whose association could be considered harmful to the respective brand.

IAB Switzerland

Brand safety is a relevant topic for the IAB, LSA and SWA. In July, the advertising associations published a white paper that includes the creation of a uniform understanding of the terminology surrounding brand safety.

The Brand Safety Report is a comprehensive report for which digital advertising from the 100 largest Swiss advertising clients and exposed industries was examined and analyzed with regard to brand safety. The report distinguishes between legal safety (advertising environments that violate the law or advertising guidelines) and brand suitability, which refers to brand-specific safety requirements. In the first half of 2020, the Internet and various websites were audited to determine which ads appear on potentially brand-damaging pages. The analysis showed that although many brand safety-critical cases were registered, 54% of the brands were not or hardly exposed.


Greatest risk for leisure industry

Looking at different industries, the leisure industry (including gaming) showed the greatest risk of placing their digital ads in brand-critical environments, followed by industries such as charity and social platforms, government-related organizations, religious/spiritual organizations, and education/training.

In general, it was observed that advertisers who were new to advertising in the digital space - driven by the possibilities of Corona-induced changes in consumer behavior - were at higher risk of placing ads in brand-critical environments than established digital advertisers.

Basically, it should be noted that since 2017, there has been some progress with regard to reducing the exposure to non-brand-safe content on important advertising platforms such as YouTube and Facebook due to international pressure. However, the issue remains a constant challenge in Switzerland as well, which is why the advertising associations will continue to report regularly on the current situation regarding Brand Safety with the Transparency Initiative. The goal should be to achieve 100 percent brand safety, which requires the active interaction of all players involved.

For the "Brand Safety Report", which the associations IAB Switzerland, Leading Swiss Agencies (LSA) and Schweizer Werbe-Auftraggeberverband (SWA) conducted in cooperation with Zulu5 in the first half of 2020, over 1 million national and international potentially brand-damaging Internet domains were analyzed. 

The study and the "Whitepaper Brand Safety" are available at, as well as available for download free of charge.

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