Ad tech firms waking up to brand safety and ad fraud, says JICWEBS. Maybe, but slowly

When The Times ran its exposé on big brand ads appearing in all sorts of unsavoury places in February, it seemed to finally wake up the industry to the issue of brand safety, as a number of brands and media agencies pulled their ad budgets from YouTube and Jaguar Land Rover went even further, suspending all UK digital advertising. 

According to JICWEBS, (The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards in the UK and Ireland), the impact of the piece is still being felt in a more positive way, with 20 companies have signing up to undergo an audit since the article appeared. 35 companies have already achieved JICWEBS certification for brand safety. You can see the full list of companies being audited, and those who have been certified, here.

In addition, two companies – Affectv and RadiumOne – have achieved certification for anti-fraud, while seven others – Agenda 21 Digital, Inskin Media, Iotec, Nano Interactive, Resonence, Sovrn and Widespace – are currently undergoing an audit.

Certification shows how a company applies JICWEBS good practice principles to its processes to reduce the risk of that issue occurring. JICWEBS is the independent cross-industry body that defines best practice and standards for online ad trading in the UK.

Advertisers have welcomed the news. “Misplaced advertising is an issue that affects the whole online industry,” said Andy Muddimer, Santander’s head of digital servicing and mobile. “In proactively working together we will foster trust and continue to see online ad spend grow. We encourage market take-up of JICWEBS DTSG (Digital Trading Standards Group) good practice.”

Christian Armond, head of digital marketing at TUI, said: “Following ISBA’s call-to-action to tackle online fraud, it’s reassuring to see JICWEBS is delivering on the plan. We look forward to trading with trusted partners who support the industry’s ongoing work to reduce fraud and would encourage everyone involved in the advertising ecosystem to take this issue seriously and apply the JICWEBS recommendations.”

While it is encouraging to see these companies upping their game where brand safety and ad fraud are concerned, when you consider the hundreds of companies that make up the digital advertising part of the martech ecosystem, it’s clear there’s still a long, long way to go.