Marketers and their agencies have a clear expectation that their messages are both seen and placed in brand-safe environments, which isn’t always happening across the wider industry, warns Alex Parsons, Nine’s Chief Digital and Marketing Officer.
Amid the ongoing industry debate around the brand safety offered by platforms such as Youtube and Facebook, Parsons noted that premium content creators, such as Nine, had a major competitive advantage in this area.
“Brand safety has always been important, but the issue we have had recently is with the plethora of user-generated content coming through these global tech platforms – which frankly is not really looked at by humans. It creates content which is not brand safe,” said Parsons.
“We would never want to have our messages or our advertisers’ messages associated with anything in that regard. Ours is 100 per cent brand safe because we create and review all the content we put in front of consumers.”
Parsons said viewability was another key area of marketer expectation which the industry needed to tackle.
“We don’t want to charge advertisers for things that aren’t seen. Our ads, particularly in the video products, are all unskippable, all based on a user action pressing play, and all have the sound on,” he said.
“That is the expectation that I as a marketer have, that is the expectation that our clients have, and that’s the expectation that we meet.”
Nine’s digital boss pointed out that the company had earlier this year moved to give marketers reassurance around viewability, becoming one of the first in the Australian market to offer third-party verification on its video products.
“With video we use third-party verification systems like Moat and Integral Ad Science,” Parsons said. “This is incredibly important because our advertisers want to know that their ads are appearing in brand-safe and 100 per cent viewable environments.”
Parsons argued there was an increasingly clear differentiation between those in market investing in premium-quality environment and those platforms relying on user-generated content.
“Ultimately, Nine is and always has been a video company,” he said. “Premium-quality content is incredibly important to our future. Here at Nine each year we spend more than $800 million creating premium Australian content. This is compelling and unique content that Australians are actively choosing to watch.
“It’s also content that advertisers are choosing to put their message around in order to connect with those consumers.”
He also noted that Nine was a major player in both short-form video, with leading news and lifestyle sites like nine.com.au, 9news.com.au and 9thefix.com.au, and the long-form video space, with its live streaming and catch-up platform 9Now.
“Clearly, Nine News, as Australia’s leading news brand, has an enormous amount of video and much our online product is built on the backbone of our video product – be it news, sports or lifestyle content.
“But I also think our long-form video product is extraordinarily powerful. For 60 years brands have been wanting to integrate their messages in a highly emotive audio visual environment that comes onto their screens and into their homes.
“Our long-form video is no different. We have high-impact, quality Australian content that is totally brand-safe and totally viewable. Those things together form a very powerful mix for advertisers.”
Parsons also noted that across its various digital properties and through the 9Now platform, Nine’s online video content reaches a significant portion of the population.
“There are different ways to look at our audience,” he said. “On one level, across the Nine and Microsoft network we provide the opportunity to connect to more than 14 million Australians each month, and in the long-form video space we have more than 1.8 million people who engage with our content.”
Nine’s Chief Digital Officer said the company had also invested heavily in recent years to build out its data offering, with products such as the Adobe Data Management Platform, to give marketers better consumer targeting.
“Nine’s data proposition is important for two reasons: one is from an audience/consumer perspective, and the other is the advertiser viewpoint,” he said.
“We want to enable consumers to have the most amazing experience possible, and data is important with functions like resume play or recommending content.
“From the advertiser side, data allows us to put the right advert in front of the right people, at the right time, on the right device. We find that context is incredibly important in helping them to achieve much better results.”