Your one-stop for the most important articles in digital marketing this week. In this post, our team dives deep to get you the latest digital marketing news in one place. Enjoy! 

Can the Coronavirus Crisis Prompt a Correction in Brand Safety Tactics?

Publisher sources claim marketers’ brand safety concerns are leading media buyers to employ obtuse keyword blacklisting around coronavirus-related content—potentially the defining news event of the 2020s. For all the technical complexities involved with the issue of keyword blocking and online safety, a March 2020 online survey of 1,042 U.S. internet users from Integral Ad Science demonstrates 22% of respondents said it is unsuitable for a brand to appear near coronavirus content, while 78% claimed their sentiment toward brands with ads adjacent to coronavirus content would be unchanged. Although, perhaps most tellingly, 26% of respondents said they are unlikely to engage with an ad adjacent to coronavirus content in any way.

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Coronavirus pandemic: Uncertainty grips digital advertising as many sectors slash ad spend

The prevailing uncertainty owing to the coronavirus outbreak will also spell bad news for digital advertising which had seen a 26 percent growth in 2019. Tourism boards, films and live event clients are cutting down spends drastically. The tourism industry is one of the worst affected sectors due to the rapid spread of the outbreak. 

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Brand Suitability: Demystifying Blocking and the “DV Clouds”

In this article written exclusively for ExchangeWire, Matt McLaughlin (pictured below), COO of DoubleVerify, responds to concerns over the firm’s use of “clouds” in the aim of maintaining brand safety and negating advertising fraud. As brands adapt their suitability strategies during the coronavirus pandemic (see DV’s recommendations for brands here), there have been questions raised regarding DV’s blocking service – why it works the way it does, and why DV Clouds appear in an ad slot. 

This piece briefly covers the basics of the blocking service and answers these recent questions.

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Travel firms ramped up spending on online ads ahead of projected coronavirus slump, data show

The U.S. travel sector doubled down on online ads in the last month, joining healthcare and food delivery providers in pushing deals even as the coronavirus pandemic caused mass cancellations and deterred many travelers. Airlines, cruise operators, overall, the travel sector’s top ten spenders increased online ad buys this past month to $40.5 million, 7.7% higher than during the same period last year. Other sectors like healthcare and food delivery have also seen a bump.

But digital ad sales, which make up nearly all of Facebook’s revenue, will not necessarily increase, said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at ad agency GroupM.

“If nobody is buying anything, it doesn’t matter how much time people are spending on social media,” he said.

Guidance from Chinese ad giants like Alibaba, Weibo and Baidu, which experienced coronavirus effects earlier than Google and Facebook, shows revenue likely fell 20% in the last few months compared with a year ago, he said.

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When Digital Ads Go Rogue, and the Quest for Nuanced A.I.

News stories about badly placed digital ads, in which the brand, media owner ad agency involved are all pointing the finger at one another, are ten a penny these days. But this week saw a new take on the argument, in which they both the brand and the platform took issue with an ASA ban, denying anyone was at fault. An audio ad for Warner Bros new film It Chapter Two was found to be playing on a ‘Classical Lullabies’ playlist on Spotify. 

In the main, agencies and brands are aware of brand suitability versus safety, and the apparent, nuanced approach to ensure ads are placed amongst appropriate content.

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So there you have it friends, the best articles for this week. Make sure to check back every week for a quick absorption of the most relevant articles in the industry and stay on top of your game.