Tech

IPG is using a new tool to help advertisers avoid misinformation and says it’s already increasing click-through rates 143%

  • IPG is using a new NewsGuard tool to prevent ads from ending up on misinformation sites.
  • For one IPG ad client, the tool led to a 9% decline in CPMs even as the click-through rate grew 143%.
  • Other ad holding companies using the tool include Omnicom Media Group and most recently, Publicis.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Even as advertisers pour money into programmatic advertising, they remain wary of their ads inadvertently ending up next to questionable content and fueling misinformation online.

IPG Mediabrands is among the

advertising companies
using a new tool from NewsGuard, a company that uses journalists and artificial intelligence to identify misinformation across the internet and help advertisers keep their ads off shady websites.

The tool, called Responsible Advertising for News Segments (RANS), maintains lists that help advertisers avoid websites promoting misinformation while channeling their ads to credible publishers, including those focused on Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ communities.

In a case study with an advertiser using the tool, IPG said the average cost for programmatic ads declined 9% as the rate of people clicking on the ads shot up 143%.

The advertiser used the tool to add to its list of allowed sites more than 1,000 local and national news sites that NewsGuard rated as highly trusted while removing unreliable sites — expanding its list by 60%, according to NewsGuard. These new sites performed better than the typical site on the brand’s previous list of allowed sites, NewsGuard said.

NewsGuard’s publisher criteria lets advertiser prioritize quality, legitimate news and get better performance, said Joshua Lowcock, US chief digital officer for Universal McCann and global brand safety officer for IPG Mediabrands. 

“It demonstrates, categorically, that advertising on news is a good business decision,” he said.

While other ad tech companies have tackled how and where ads appear online, the automated nature of programmatic advertising means advertisers can still wind up being associated with misinformation. At the same time, brands may pull ads or avoid entire categories of websites, which can end up harming legitimate publishers.

Misinformation has become an increasing concern for company shareholders. Home Depot and Omnicom shareholders have recently filed resolutions asking the companies to investigate if their ad dollars have helped spread hate speech and misinformation.

A growing cohort of advertisers are also spending more of their dollars with minority-focused media and production companies. 

Verizon pledged to spend 30% of its production dollars and 2% of its ad budget in 2021 on diverse-owned production companies and Black-owned media companies, respectively. McDonald’s said it would dedicate 10% of its national ad spending to Black-, Hispanic-, Asian Pacific American-, women- and LGBTQ-owned platforms by 2024 as it faces a lawsuit alleging racial stereotyping related to its ad spending.

Publicis is the newest ad holding company that’s using NewsGuard’s tool. The ad company plans to use it at the holding company level so that clients can see how it’s working at scale, said Yale Cohen, EVP of Global Digital Standards at Publicis Media Exchange. 

Publicis recently used the tool to tell which news sites cited credible, unbiased sources on the Israel-Palestine conflict versus sites that were being funded by state-sponsored actors from both sides, said Cohen.

“In such cases, relying on the platforms and DSPs is not enough,” he said. “You really do need to have a third party like NewsGuard to come in and tell us that two of the three news sources cited are being funded by state-sponsored elements.”

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