MediaMath, TrustX & GeoEdge Discuss The Trust Equation: The Hidden Side of Brand Safety

What is the role of consumer trust in the digital advertising ecosystem? What can damage this trust, and what is the role of advertisers and publishers in improving consumer trust? TrustX CEO David Kohl, GeoEdge CEO Amnon Siev, and MediaMath Chief Partnership Officer Laurent Cordier recently discussed the role of trust and brand safety in digital advertising.

Discussion highlights include:

  • What are the hidden challenges of malvertising and deceptive ads: the why, how, and what of it?
  • How significant are the problem and examples
  • Why is the TRUST equation so important and what elements are critical to the TRUST equation

Learn more about why our clients trust GeoEdge.

Trust in Digital Advertising

Over the last few years, stakeholders across the Digital Advertising industry have been increasingly concerned about the security of ad campaigns. Industry stakeholders seek to mitigate security risks and gain full transparency into the supply path to ensure a clean, safe environment. Now, digital players are placing increasing emphasis on the appropriateness and suitability of ads. Increasingly, digital publishers and ad platforms are utilizing technology to circumvent the risk of unsavory or off-brand content and ensure that problematic ads don’t flow through their pipes.

However, there is another vital frontier for all members of the digital advertising ecosystem to consider– Where the ad leads, post-click. Anytime an ad leads users to an unexpected landing page, consumer trust is irreparably damaged. While this is not how most of the industry looks at brand safety, this risk significantly impacts user association with brands, threatening to erode consumer trust and experience.

Sowing Seeds of Mistrust

Bad ads cultivate an uneasy, negative atmosphere even around known and trusted brands. GeoEdge CEO, Amnon Siev shared that GeoEdge researchers have found that “while only 6% of users file a complaint when they encounter a bad ad, over 60% said that they would not feel comfortable returning to the website where they came across a bad ad.” 

“From a consumer’s perspective,” explained Siev, “an ad is an integral part of their experience on the site.” Online consumers assume a publisher knowingly used a particular advertiser – whether or not this is the case. Therefore, “the moment they have a bad experience with an ad, it leads to a negative experience with that publisher, a bad association. They’ll stop using that website and seek out alternative content to consume.”  

With a user-first approach to monetization, digital publishers can utilize ad quality as a strategic differentiator in a crowded market to foster close-knit relationships with their audience built on trust. 

Ad Integrity to Build Your Business On

Fake, deceptive and misleading ads that look legitimate are an ongoing threat to not only ad integrity but brand integrity. Industry stakeholders must pay careful attention to this hidden component of brand safety. As Laurent Cordier of MediaMath explained, “Even for a high-quality brand, bad actors can use your brand and carry out fraud. Ads that camouflage themselves under the guise of a respected brand are detrimental to the brand.”  According to Cordier, “Even known brands must work to cover the risks they face at every step.”

 It’s clear that these challenges are not going away anytime soon, and they are only intensifying. According to GeoEdge research, 76% of publishers report that bad ads have negatively impacted their revenue. A comprehensive solution is essential to protect players across the supply chain from widespread harm.

David Kohl asked the participants to share their suggestions for brands and publishers to maintain a healthy, trusted digital supply chain. As Kohl said, “Publishers have a responsibility to scan ads coming into their platforms. Online consumers blame the publisher for a bad ad and associate their bad experience with the environment in which it was served.” What’s more, the more times a consumer interacts with bad ads and hears about their potential harm, “it makes consumers more likely to install ad blockers, and less likely to interact with ads at all,” harming the entire ad ecosystem. 

A Strategic revenue channel

Amnon Siev, CEO at GeoEdge explained that players in the ad ecosystem often view ad quality control as a choice between revenue and quality. Opting not to work with certain advertisers means giving up on potential revenue opportunities. Successful players are those who have proactively crafted a process for blocking bad ads and actors to ensure all partners meet their guidelines for ad quality. To safeguard programmatic as a strategic revenue channel, industry stakeholders must have real-time technology in place to block unwanted ads, allowing digital publishers and ad platforms to identify the source of the ad and automatically alert the responsible demand. 

MediaMath Chief Partnership Officer, Laurent Cordier, said to protect the ecosystem’s integrity, “advertisers should work with agencies and partners who commit to brand safety. They must make it clear that this is essential to them. It’s a priority in their decision-making. A company’s CFO and PR side must be made to understand the risk to a brand if action is not taken to monitor and enforce ad safety standards.” 

As Kohl mentioned, the hidden side of brand safety is distrust by consumers when they click on ads that lead them to destinations they didn’t intend ongoing. Their dwindling trust in ads is bad for publishers, platforms, and advertisers alike. While industry stakeholders may focus on short-term revenue, these strategies don’t create sustainability in the digital ad industry. 

Digital publishers should insist on working with demand partners who ensure that every ad end-users see is one in which they can be confident that it will be safe, engaging, and enhance the site’s experience- rather than detract.  Health, safety, and confidence can be restored to digital advertising when trust is prioritized. 

Your security partner for ad quality

GeoEdge’s mission is to protect the integrity of the digital advertising ecosystem and to preserve a quality experience for users. Our security solutions ensure high ad quality and verify that sites offer a clean, safe and engaging user experience, GeoEdge allows publishers and ad platforms to maximize their ad revenue without quality concerns, protect their brand reputation and increase their partner/user loyalty. Contact GeoEdge to guard your inventory against unwanted, malicious, offensive and inappropriate ads — without sacrificing revenue.

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Tobias is an experienced marketing leader and Chief Business Officer at GeoEdge. He believes success in business is fueuled by a passion for the product and purposeful messaging. Connect with Tobias on Linkedin to discuss strategic business development.

Malvertising, the practice of sprinkling malicious code into legitimate-looking ads is growing more sophisticated. GeoEdge’s holistic ad quality solution has you covered.


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