GumGum’s Latest Research Shows Improved Sentiment on Brand Safety among Marketers, but 60 Percent Still Consider Brand Safety a Serious Problem

According to those surveyed, blacklisting, the most popular defense against unsafe brand exposure, limits access to audience—and Twitter and Facebook are the most improved platforms when it comes to brand safety.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--()--GumGum, an artificial intelligence company with deep expertise in computer vision, will release this week the full findings of a November 2018 market research survey, undertaken in partnership with Digiday Media, that queried the current state of brand safety in the advertising industry.

The study assessed market sentiment on the question of brand safety and examined what brands, agencies, and publishers are doing to identify and reduce exposure to unsafe content. GumGum’s research, which follows on similar research it conducted in 2017, signals positive trends but also underscores the fact that brand safety remains a work in progress.

“Unsafe brand exposures were a huge pain point last year, but now we’re finally seeing more confidence across the board when it comes to brand safety,” said Phil Schraeder, President and Chief Operating Officer of GumGum. “The problem is that some of the improvement for brands has come at the expense of exposure to viable audiences. There’s an overreliance on highly restrictive methods like blacklisting, when smarter, more precise brand safety tools—AI-powered contextual analysis, for example—are available.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • 60 percent of industry professionals surveyed said that brand safety is a serious problem, a marked improvement from last year’s 90 percent figure.
  • 91 percent said that their companies have created an internal role dedicated to preventing brand safety incidents, compared to just 34 percent in 2017. 95 percent said that these internal brand safety specialists had some success limiting unsafe exposures.
  • Respondents deemed blacklists the most effective tool for preventing brand safety problems. Unfortunately, twice as many professionals reported that blacklists and whitelists have hurt their ability to reach audiences than did in 2017.
  • The percentage of industry professionals who use image recognition to prevent brand safety issues has nearly doubled since last year.
  • “Competitor’s branding” and “vulgar language” were ranked the two greatest threats to brand safety, while in 2017 the greatest threats were “bad news” and “divisive politics”.
  • Respondents ranked Twitter the most brand-safe platform, a major improvement from its next-to-last ranking in 2017. Facebook also made strides: Considered most unsafe platform in 2017, respondents ranked it second safest behind Twitter in the November 2018 study.

Click here for more details and to download the full report.

About GumGum

GumGum is an artificial intelligence company with a focus on computer vision. The company’s mission is to solve hard problems across a variety of industries by teaching machines to see and understand the world. Since 2008, the company has applied its patented capabilities to serve a variety of industries from advertising to professional sports, with more to come. For more information please visit:


Nick Garrison, Media Relations


Nick Garrison, Media Relations