The Polar Report

The Polar Report: Industry Insights #1

November 26, 2021

Welcome to The Polar Report, a curated view of what is happening in the world of digital Monetisation, Audience Development and Measurement. This week we dive into Facebook’s latest brand safety tools, contextual targeting in CTV advertising, metrics and more!


177 media agencies claim 37% of YouTube ads could be unsuitable

A recent article on AdExchanger discusses the evolution of brand safety, specifically how YouTube and CTV have helped improve brand suitability and how the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) has highlighted gaps in the current approach.

It states how advertisers' “defensive” approach to improving suitability through overly restrictive keywords result in losses of “potentially millions of impressions” and may exclude potentially suitable content.

TV advertisers are used to knowing exactly where their ad will run, giving them total brand safety and suitability assurances. Digital platforms have attempted to compete by enabling tools to prevent ads running against dangerous content but cannot guarantee safety in the same way.

Brand suitability is distinct from brand safety in that it adds a layer of relevance to advertising. ‘Smart suitability’ claims to be the solution with its balance between relevance and risk, including placing ads against content that may not seem obvious, but which can potentially improve campaign performance.

Smart suitability is very much aspirational at this stage as it requires advertisers, media owners and platforms to align. With the relationships between the key stakeholders already strained, it is not something that will change quickly.

Media owners need to improve their own taxonomies and packaging to help advertisers identify relevant placements. This will not only help advertisers find more relevant placements but in turn increase revenue for media owners. This improved taxonomy for direct advertisers is no different from placing relevant meta-data on social videos for advertisers to discover them in auction.

Full article on AdExchanger

Facebook adds new brand safety tools

Facebook (now Meta) has recently announced plans to introduce a new brand suitability verification tool. This will help advertisers keep their ads from appearing against certain topics. These topics are News and Politics, Social Issues, and Crime & Tragedy.

Platforms putting in brand safety tools helps advertisers to control where they want their ads to appear, especially those that are brand sensitive. Amid a large exodus of younger users from Facebook, Meta’s move to introduce these controls is likely an attempt to retain ad publishers, as for publishers this move is likely to support more premium outlets and increase their overall CPMs.

Full article on Campaign

Audience Development

Contextual storytelling used to overcome skippable culture

Contextual targeting is no longer enough to keep young audiences engaged, and so advertisers need to also deliver an “elevated user experience”, according to this MarTech article. 82% of Gen Z skip ads, so it is increasingly important to hook their attention early.

Brands are taking action to overcome the pressures of this scrolling and skipping culture. While the decline of the cookie and increasing brand safety measures are elevating contextual targeting as a way to engage customers online, advertisers still persist in using their 30 second TV ads in social environments.

Young generations are seeking increased personalisation, which means brands have an ideal environment in which to build relationships with the consumer. One route is to have creators produce bespoke ads to run in front of their channel or wider contextual environments. While having a creator speak to their audience directly about why they are working with a brand is more akin to a brand callout, when they are used in advertising it means audiences can be hyper-targeted in order to support the brand campaign.

Full article on MarTech Series


Ad spend SOV% influenced by performance metrics

As reported on Digiday, advertisers are changing the means by which they measure success. Performance metrics are becoming increasingly influential on determining ad spend. As a result, publishers need to change their approach to selling in order to stay relevant. It is no longer feasible to rely on brand reputation and historical credibility.

Media owners must look beyond traditional fee metrics of CPM and CPV to look at more retention and performance based measures. Advertisers are willing to pay higher effective fees for those that can provide greater assurances on performance.
One route for media owners is to assess their portfolio performance and enable buyers to transact on viewability or retention. It remains to be seen how far advertisers will continue to muddy the water on brand / performance but it will be a big factor in revenue allocation.

Full article on Digiday

OMG using attention metrics to plan media

In this digital age where content is everywhere, being able to determine which content holds attention on different platforms and devices is a key measure for valuing media. In this Digiday report, it outlines how Omnicom Media Group is starting to look at attention during the planning stage. Indeed, measurement firm Amplified Intelligence’s CEO Karen Nelson-Field calls it the “metric of the moment.”

This metric of attention is nothing new, but until now it had been used primarily in optimisation or post campaign measurement. Moving it into the planning stage is a real shift in the approach to digital measurement. Attention in the video advertising world is primarily in the form of view duration and is one the key metrics in determining engagement beyond a view or click.

Full article on Digiday