Brand safety issues are partly responsible for the trend toward in-housing and they’re also driving a retreat from programmatic among some brands. A new survey from the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Brand Safety Institute (BSI) shows why brands should be nervous about their content appearing beside questionable or offensive content.

Reduce their purchase or stop buying entirely. TAG and BSI polled just over 1,000 U.S. adults in late July. As with other, similar surveys, the parties found that a majority of consumers would have a negative opinion of brands advertising products near extreme or offensive content. And although consumer opinions don’t always translate into action, majorities of consumers told the TAG-BSI survey that they would reduce or stop buying products that appeared in these questionable contexts.

The survey asked respondents to estimate the amount of online content that falls into categories of “dangerous, offensive or inappropriate.” Roughly 85% said some (51%) or a great deal (34%). The survey then asked about reactions to specific types of content.

Which of the following types of content do you think advertisers should prevent their ads from running near?

brand safety and offensive contentongoing brand safety issues and advertiser defections. And while brand safety on YouTube and elsewhere across the internet have improved, it will remain an issue as long as algorithms and machine learning (and not humans) determine when and where to serve ads.

Whitelists, blacklists, direct buying, in-house brand safety positions and concerted industry initiatives will continue to improve online brand safety. Yet the continuing quest for brand safety will come, to some degree, at the expense of audience reach.

About The Author

Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google .