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IPG Mediabrands’ Latest Media Responsibility Index Proves Top Platforms Have Responded Favorably To Network’s Media Responsibility Push

Media Responsibility Principles Officially Adopted by the 4As and Media Responsibility Index Endorsed by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), Continuing the Initiative’s Success

IPG Mediabrands today released its latest Media Responsibility Index, a quantitative report that strives to raise industry standards around brand safety and media responsibility in  advertising. This latest Index, led by Mediabrands agency Reprise and based on a 2H 2020 assessment, found that  top social platforms’ adherence to media responsibility has improved significantly across nearly all 10 Media  Responsibility Principles (MRPs), with platforms delivering an average lift of 11 percentage points across the  assessment.

The largest increases were seen in the agency network’s Promote Respect and Accountability  principles, as well as many platforms improving their efforts to reduce Hate Speech and  Misinformation/Disinformation. As further confirmation of the need for a common set of standards, the  Mediabrands MRPs have officially been adopted by the 4As and the Index has been endorsed by the Global  Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), the leading global industry body on media responsibility governance. 

“We created the Media Responsibility Index with the belief that social platforms would welcome our Index as a  helpful tool, rather than being perceived as another ranking. This current Index shows that the platforms heard our  call to action and moved swiftly to work together to be better and contribute to a more positive future for  advertising and our world,” said Elijah Harris, Global Head of Social, Mediabrands’ agency Reprise. “As an agency  partner to both platforms and brands, we have a unique opportunity to provide data and insights that empower the  larger industry to look out for one another when it comes to the communities a brand serves and the content they see.” 

This latest iteration of the Media Responsibility Index comes on the heels of the 1H 2020 Media Responsibility  assessment that was issued last August, as a first-of-its-kind assessment on Media Responsibility in the  advertising industry. The platforms invited to participate – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat,  TikTok, Twitch, Twitter and YouTube – encompass the majority of users globally who are active in a social media  community. Each platform was scored against key dimensions that provide deeper contextual insights across  MRP reporting, and the insights were gathered throughout Q3 2020. And, the current Media Responsibility Index reveals that these platforms are seeing the need to improve their media responsibility efforts in order to protect the communities they serve, as well as take accountability for their actions. 

MB-2H-2020-Media-Responsibility-Index-Press-Materials-Charts-09.05.2021-1

Our Media Responsibility Principles are designed to be a guiding way forward for the industry. In light of ongoing  broader conversations around social media and its role in society, it is encouraging that the latest Index indicates  improvements by Reddit, Snap, TikTok, Twitch and YouTube against the Promote Respect principle, as well as  movement by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter on the principle of No Mis/Disinformation. 

Key findings of the Media Responsibility Index include: 

  • The platforms with the most gaps with MRP in 1H 2020 had the greatest opportunity to improve and have  – most notably, TikTok: TikTok was the most improved platform since the previous Index. As TikTok’s  growth surged in 2020, the platform demonstrated an ability to take a forward-looking approach to  building its platform with the Index’s key principles in mind, and 2H 2020 assessment results reflect a  marked pivot toward enhanced third-party brand safety partnerships. The latest Index results newly introduce TikTok’s increased focus on principle 3: Diverse and Representative — a principle they were not  able to provide substantial public data for in 1H 2020. TikTok also saw substantial shifts in their third party brand safety partnerships and policy enforcement approaches. 
  • All platforms took meaningful steps forward in policy enforcement: Misinformation, Election Integrity and  Health emerge as major themes where platforms stepped up to the plate. In the battle against misinformation, platforms did the advance work to ensure their policies were transparent, principle-based  and enforceable in a consistent manner by leveraging controls and features that felt native to each platform, all while contentious broader public discourse continued and sizable portions of the U.S. still  challenged the election results.  
  • Enabling more control over Feed environments and UGC is a goal of many platforms: We engaged with platforms about their approach to and products under development to answer for this demand. At the time  surveyed, Snap and YouTube shared that they expect further improvements to UGC controls in early 2021,  and other platforms committed to paying more attention to putting into effect more UGC controls and tools  for 2021. 
  • Platforms generally want to do better and are committed to media responsibility: All of the platforms  voluntarily participated in the assessment and expressed continued interest in ongoing collaborative  efforts and solutions for the industry. And, each platform made significant strides and demonstrated minor  to considerable individual improvement throughout the year. 
  • Applying pressure and creating a culture of accountability works, but there’s more work to do: While the  scrutiny these platforms face may sometimes seem insurmountable, events throughout the past year have  proven that holding partners accountable in the stratum of media responsibility can yield positive results.  Consumers, advertisers and regulators alike have advocated for more leverage and transparency in their  transactions with many large social platforms. The latest results indicate that while platform  improvements and enhancements have been made, many stakeholders are still seeking additional  leverage and transparency to align marketing efforts with media principles.  

“The 4A’s and its Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB) continue to support the application of the Media  Responsibility Principles and applauds the impact as measured through the Index that the efforts of Mediabrands  and the broader industry have had to ensure a safer and more responsible ecosystem for advertisers and more  importantly, consumers,” said Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO, 4A’s. 

“It goes without saying that our Media Responsibility efforts, which were the first in our industry, have made a  significant impact on how the platforms are operating,” said Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital Officer, UM, and Global  Brand Safety Officer, Mediabrands. “The fact that we have the support of the 4As and other industry bodies, shows  that Mediabrands is at the forefront of advancing policy on media responsibility and brand safety in order to  protect our society from harm.” 

Platforms were required to provide information touching on the MRPs, broken down by the five key dimensions of:  Policy, Enforcement, Advertising Controls, User Controls, and Reporting. Scores were compared to provide analysis  around how platforms are acting on and evolving towards the principles. Notably, the Index has added Key Themes  as part of the assessment moving forward, as well as a Dimensions category. 

For more information about the latest Media Responsibility Index please contact MediaResponsibility@mbww.com. In 2021 the Media Responsibility Index will be released bi-annually.

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