Why Brand Safety is an Immediate Concern in India

Brands must repeatedly reach out to the same set of users, and they must live up to their reputation to knock on the same doors.

In the fast-paced world of digital advertising, where brands try to leave a lasting impression on customers, guaranteeing brand safety has become a top priority, particularly in a market as dynamic as India. Protecting a brand’s reputation has never been more critical in an era driven by online interactions. Let’s look at the complexities of brand safety and why it’s such a hot topic in the Indian digital realm.

The Boom of Digital Advertising in India

In recent years, India’s digital environment has experienced an unparalleled upsurge, with a substantial segment of the populace utilizing the internet for information, entertainment, and business purposes. India had 692.0 million internet users at the start of 2023 when internet penetration stood at 48.7 percent, which makes India one of the world’s biggest online markets.

To reach many consumers, brands are devoting significant amounts to digital advertising campaigns in response to the surge in online activity. But there are drawbacks to this digital gold rush, and brand safety is now a top priority for marketers.

According to traffic guard Experts warn of 20-30% surge in ad fraud imperilling advertisers during festive and sporting events. This underline the urgency for brands to implement robust brand safety measures to mitigate the risks associated with ad fraud.  For digital advertising, there is an important implication to understand.

Somewhere, we are okay to have inefficiencies in digital campaigns. Generally, we would make a mass outreach and expect specific industry norms-based engagement rates. Many marketers are fine with 2-3% CTR, which means for every 100 people reached, we expect a tangible outcome only from 2-3 people.

We could now afford turnover with this strategy. The BOT engagement would likely be hidden because 97-98% would only engage within a certain point. As a result, there is ad fraud. Similarly, if anyone in the audience had not participated due to brand safety concerns, it would have made little difference earlier. The reason for this was that there were still a lot of audiences available in subsequent campaigns, and India’s overall digital user base was growing.

But now that this place is full, there is little room for more new users. This means a campaign would be served to the same audience each time. In this case, achieving the highest level of brand safety with campaigns is critical. This will ensure that the target audience does not negatively perceive the brand, discouraging them from engaging in the future.

Even though there is some degree of target marketing using digital mediums, much of it is still done by trial and error. This means that a campaign manager must contact the same profile multiple times with different products and services to gauge interest beyond what is defined by key profile parameters. For example, a specific audience profile may be uninterested in a smartphone campaign but highly interested in a TWS ear bud campaign. While the campaign audience remains the same on a broad level, the results may vary dramatically.

In such cases, an advertiser cannot afford to lose a user because of a bad experience caused by a brand safety issue. With the number of potential digital users approaching a nadir, any advertiser has little chance to expand their reach beyond a certain point. It must consistently nurture its audience and keep them open to its campaigns. The campaign’s relevance may be high or low depending on other factors that need to be defined by the profile. What matters is that the advertiser’s message is received positively and that a potential buyer is engaged further to decide.

Advertisers and their agencies must recognize the importance of brand safety, especially as the number of new digital users continues to decline. They must work together to ensure that the advertisement elements and the mediums through which they are delivered are brand-safe and do not result in an experience that causes even genuine users to discontinue campaigns because their positioning has been negatively impacted due to brand safety issues such as using an inappropriate keyword, insensitive messaging, false promise, or many other cases that threaten a brand’s reputation. The digital user base in India will grow slower than it did previously, giving advertisers fewer opportunities to engage new users every time. They will have to nurture the same group of people and need to make a better impression. Previously, inefficiencies or errors in a campaign were compensated for by targeting a new set of users. Every advertiser and partner must recognize the importance of nurturing the community in a clean and pure environment. That’s the new standard of hygiene!

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