Hey Brand Advertisers, There are 300 Million Brand Safe Places Waiting For You

Mike Ng, Chief Revenue Officer at Digital Turbine Media

Brand advertisers are understandably anxious about brand safety but there’s actually some good news on that front. There are nearly 300 million completely brand-safe environments available to you right now: each and every smartphone that is in the hands of US consumers. Every day, mobile carriers and OEMs curate news stories from trusted news sources and package them into services like Flipboard Briefing, Apple News, or similar offerings. For the reasons discussed below, they offer the scale and suitability brand advertisers crave.

The concerns of brand suitability on the web are growing – look no further than the 1000+ advertisers that recently boycotted Facebook over concerns about content adjacency and user-generated content. But there’s a key difference between media giants like Facebook and Google and carrier/OEM media offerings: the source of their core revenue. While traditional media giants earn their revenue from advertisers, corporations, and government entities – carrier’s revenue comes from the nearly 300 million US consumers with a smartphone.

Carrier Media Is Curated and Vetted

Consumers pay $50 to $100 a month to use their phones. In total, Statista reports that in 2019, the service revenues of wireless carriers totaled almost 200 billion dollars. Carriers are naturally highly protective of these revenues, which makes them conservative about what they allow on their devices. If the content isn’t user-friendly and offends a group of customers, the carrier stands to lose $600 to $1,200 per user per year for every customer that cancels.

Meanwhile, major brands from all types of verticals – like Adidas, Coca-Cola, Ford, Lego, Pfizer, Sony, Starbucks, Target, and Verizon – are choosing to pull ads from Facebook and look for other, more consumer-friendly opportunities. Considering the power of those names, these iconic companies certainly have a large interest in protecting their brand equity. And in that way, their interests align with those of carrier and OEM news aggregation services. They understand the risk associated with sullying their brand reputation with consumers – which means they will opt to lessen the risk of potentially offending.

But What About Scale…

Traditionally, marketers have faced a trade-off between scale and brand suitability. While other publishers may offer a better option for brand suitability, not many can match the massive reach of Facebook or Google. This means an end result is using multiple publishers and multiple buys – and all the tracking, reporting, and other overhead associated – to reach your target goals.

When it comes to mobile though, the reach is literally the 300 million people with smartphones in their hand. Which makes carrier and OEM news aggregation services the only alternative that can offer scale that rivals that of the social media giants. This allows carrier and OEM news aggregations services to reach the 81% of the US population that owns a smartphone – numbers that compare to the engagement advertisers can get with Google (86% of market share for search engines) or Facebook (used by 69% of US Adults).

… And Engagement / (device integration)

Beyond brand suitability, carrier and OEM news aggregation services offer high levels of engagement to advertisers. Research shows that consumers pick up their smartphones every 10 minutes, or about 96 times per day. Moreover, 88% of mobile users exhibit “appnostic behavior,” meaning they have no particular app in mind when they pick up their phones. What ends up happening during these moments is people swipe or tap over to easily accessible experiences.

No carrier and OEM news aggregation service exhibits that better than Apple News. Apple’s app currently ranks 12th on comScore’s ranking of top mobile apps by US reach – incredible when you consider it’s not even available for Android phones. However, Apple has made their service available to users through intelligent notifications, one swipe off the home screen, and through Siri putting users one easy touch away.

This “appnostic” state of mind also makes consumers inherently more open to new ideas, messages and products. The “lean back” mindset creates an ideal engagement scenario for advertisers – contrasted to social media where users are constantly distracted by a myriad of content choices. This means advertisers have less competition to attract the user’s attention – particularly when you eliminate all the unhealthy options that appear due to user-generated content.

Over the next few months, as we move into the final stages of what promises to be one of the most contentious elections in US history, brand suitability may be even harder to navigate and achieve. If your brand is highly sensitive to placement, you just might find that your interests are perfectly aligned with the news aggregation services offered by carriers and OEMs.

Mike Ng serves as the Chief Revenue Officer at Digital Turbine Media, where he is responsible for driving new revenue opportunities within the mobile media space, as well as developing strategies that help app developers reach and engage their ideal audiences.

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