Advertisers criticised for their approach to Covid-19 keyword blocking
According to Newsworks, an increasing number of marketers are pulling back from advertising around news stories related to the Covid-19 outbreak by using keyword blacklists, which could reportedly see the UK news industry face losses of £50 million. However, evidence suggests that news readers’ renewed attention may outweigh brand safety risks. A study by Lumen finds that print advertising is currently generating 21% more attention than normal, suggesting that consumers are actually paying more attention to ads placed next to Covid-19 related content. In another study, 90% of readers are responding “favourably or neutrally” to ads appearing next to information about topics such as Covid-19.
In response to these keyword blocking practices, UK advertiser association ISBA has developed guidance on how advertisers can manage keyword blocking which they presented during a virtual Ministerial Roundtable of the UK’s Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport with news publishers and others last week. IAB Australia has also called on agencies and ad tech firms to stop keyword blocking relating to the Covid-19 crisis and the 4A’s Advertiser Protection Bureau has published a Cross-Industry call to action on brand suitability with guidance on how to define and promote safe and suitable content. Similarly, the International Council for Ad Self-Regulation, the European Advertising Standards Alliance and Conared have issued a statement on the importance of responsible advertising and Covid-19.