Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The future of social media advertising rests on three pillars: suitability, standardisation, and transparency

By Rob Cootes, Senior Group Director, Integrated Solutions, EMEA at DoubleVerify  

Social media moves at light speed. From emerging platforms to demographic idiosyncrasies, brands have to be savvy to stay on top of the latest trends. However, keeping up with the zeitgeist is only part of the challenge when it comes to social media advertising.

Brands face several hurdles to optimising social campaign performance. They must ensure ads appear in suitable environments and must also gain clarity into ad quality metrics which can be compared across platforms. These insights can help brands optimise campaigns — for example, they can be used to identify where cost-savings can be secured, enabling brands to prioritise their investment in effective ads. As marketing budgets come under greater pressure, ensuring return on social ad spend will become increasingly important. 

The key to achieving social campaign performance optimisation will rest on technology — built on industry partnerships between proprietary platforms and verification and measurement providers — to ensure that suitability, standardisation, and quality are prioritised in social media advertising. 

Why brand suitability is crucial in social media advertising

According to DoubleVerify’s (DV) Four Fundamental Shifts in Advertising and Media report, the vast majority (68%) of consumers are concerned that misinformation and disinformation are increasing. 

Misinformation refers to the communication of unreliable or unsubstantiated information on issues of political or societal importance. Meanwhile, disinformation is the communication of unreliable or unsubstantiated information on issues of political or societal importance, with the deliberate intent to mislead or confuse. Concerningly, 46% of respondents state they have been exposed to misinformation and disinformation on social media. 

This is worrying for brands because it impacts business outcomes. Sixty-one percent of consumers report they would be less likely to purchase from a brand if they saw it next to misinformation or disinformation. Ensuring ads appear in a suitable environment is therefore fundamental to savvy marketers — not only to protect their reputations, but also to protect their bottom lines. 

This means that for brands, comprehensive safety and suitability controls are vital. At DV, we believe protecting brand reputation online is critical and it’s our mission to work with media platforms to provide those essential controls. 

We partner with social platforms to provide a range of suitability and safety solutions across their environments, such as granular content avoidance categories and block or allow list controls. By using these tools, brands can ensure ads are placed alongside contextually-relevant content, while protecting against posts that aren’t unsuitable. Meanwhile, platforms can build trust with brands by demonstrating their inventory will prioritise safety and suitability. 

Controls like these help ensure brands are protected in social environments. However, to drive optimisation, advertisers also require clear insights into ad performance. 

Boosting standardisation and transparency across environments 

Gaining a clear view of ad performance in social environments has long proved challenging. 

Typically, each platform acts as a walled garden, using its own set of measurements to track ad quality and performance. This lack of standardisation limits brands’ understanding of how ads are performing across all their campaigns. Without that visibility, advertisers struggle to make data-informed decisions about how to optimise their investments. As more platforms emerge, this challenge only grows in complexity. 

The key to improving standardisation and driving up transparency for brands will involve partnerships between proven measurement providers and social platforms. This can benefit both advertisers and platforms. Advertisers can gain clear metrics on performance from a third-party which has no vested interest in selling ads, while platforms can demonstrate their commitment to transparency, in turn building trust with advertisers. 

However, it’s not just about sharing that data, but also about using it effectively. Solutions need to both capture data and visualise it in custom reports and dashboards—thus turning data into actionable findings. This enables brands to compare performance across social environments (as well as across others). With that clarity, brands can make informed decisions on  how to boost the value of their ad spend and reduce waste.

To build a high-performance future for the industry, it’s therefore important that stakeholders continue to nurture partnerships and innovate with technology. DV is proud to work with many social platforms to provide advertisers with measurement and data insights. 

A suitable, standardised, and transparent future for social media advertising 

From new audiences to emerging and evolving platforms, the world of social media advertising never stands still. While social advertising isn’t without its challenges, it also presents unique opportunities for brands to engage with consumers. 

To unlock that opportunity, a focus on providing granular suitability controls, standardised performance measurements across environments, and transparency between platforms and brands will be essential. Working together, platforms, third-party solutions providers, and advertisers can achieve transparency and build a more impactful future of social advertising for all.