Online videos about violence and illegal drugs now pose the 'most risk' to brand safety

Online videos about violence and illegal drugs now pose the 'most risk' to brand safety

The focus over the past year on improving brand safety online has reduced risk for brands in the UK from 13.1% in the first half of 2017 to 12.2% in the latter part of the year.

The report on the second half of 2017 by Integral Ad Science measured the level of risk associated with appearing next to this type of content if the brand were to advertise in the UK. It defines brand risk as impressions that are flagged on pages that pose various levels of harm to brand image and/or reputation through association. 

It found that in the UK, the risk of brands having their ads associated with videos containing hate speech has fallen from 22.1% in the first half of 2017 to 2.1% in the second half – proving the effectiveness of efforts by platforms such as YouTube and Facebook in tackling the issue.

In the latter half of 2017, the most significant categories of risk to brands are videos about violence (25.8%), illegal drugs (23.5%), and illegal downloads (21.5%). Illegal drugs, in particular, has spiked in the past year from just 1.7% in the first six months of 2017. 

At the start of last year, the most dominant categories in the UK were videos about alcohol and adult content. 

Ad fraud

Across the online advertising spectrum, non-optimised ad fraud levels (where there is no ad fraud prevention in place) have increased over 2017 from 7.4% at the start to 8.3%. 

While both publisher and programmatic buy types saw an increased risk, publisher direct experienced the greatest rise, up from 3.1%  to 5.7%.

Within video advertising, however, the situation has improved with the overall number of fraudulent impressions falling from 6.4% to 4.7%. 


IAS found that nearly two-fifths (37.9%) of all video ad inventory was viewed until completion in the past year – a high level of engagement.

UK desktop video ad viewability (defined as 50% of the ad unit in view for one continuous second) rose from 58.3% at the start of 2017 to 66.2%.

The rise was supported by a narrowing performance gap between programmatic and publisher direct trading. Viewability when trading directly with publishers went up from 66.5% to 68.2%, while viewability when trading programmatically saw the greatest increase from 53.9% to 63.7%.

"The H2 2017 Media Quality Report highlights positive progress for the video ad industry, with improvements attributed to an increase in premium video inventory as advertisers aim to secure the best possible environments for their creative," Nick Morley, EMEA managing director, Integral Ad Science, commented. "While 2017 was considered a challenging year by most, it’s clear to see that progress has been made, and we’ll continue to drive change into 2018."


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