With brand safety a major concern, marketers must maintain a fine balancing act when executing campaigns. Whether the issue is choosing between reach and relevance or achieving high performance at the possible cost of brand safety, marketers are challenged with trading off between these different priorities. It’s no simple task, and a study conducted by Sizmek found that well over half of marketers feel that the media landscape has become too complex.

Sizmek surveyed over 500 brand marketers, asking about their current activities, priorities and challenges. When discussing the trade-offs between targeting the right audience and contextual targeting, the majority of marketers said that trying to do both negatively impacts the performance and scale of campaigns.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • 61 percent of marketers believe the digital media landscape has become too complex
  • 81 percent believe that targeting both audience and context negatively impacts campaign performance and scale
  • 77 percent are using artificial intelligence to scale up their campaigns; 81 percent plan to increase AI use
  • 64 percent said brand safety solutions negatively impact performance
  • Only 61 percent of brands employ third-party brand safety solutions
  • 76 percent want more transparency

Sizmek found that brands are taking responsibility for safety, putting themselves ahead of demand-side platforms, ad tech vendors and media buying agencies. That is likely why organizations have developed brand safety guidelines for their agencies and partners to follow. Meanwhile, media buying agencies top the ‘secondary responsibility list’ followed closely by ad exchange networks, showing that brands expect all parties to participate in the effort.

To this end, brands are taking a number of steps to better ensure brand safety, seeking more transparency for their digital display inventory. At the same time, many reported that they’re seeking to simplify the process by reducing the number of vendors in their supply chain, prioritizing those that offer good value.

“The complexity and fragmentation of the digital ecosystem is clearly a burden for marketers, resulting in a desire to reduce the number of partners they work with and to get more value from those they do,” the Sizmek report states. “Consolidation will in fact make it vital to find the right partners—those that can meet diverse and sometimes competing needs in an efficient, cost-effective and transparent way.