Brands fund misinformation and disinformation with their ad dollars, whether they know it or not. Top brands have served immeasurable impressions on sites containing misleading content, from Russian propaganda fueling the war in Ukraine to COVID-19 conspiracy theories. This vicious cycle, driven by bad incentives, lack of coordination, and marketer ignorance, fuels geopolitical unrest and risks undermining democracy. Half of the US B2C CMOs at organizations with 500-plus employees from Forrester’s Q2 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey, 2022, indicated that their brand has inadvertently appeared on a site with misinformation or adjacent to content that has misinformation.

Our just-published report, Funding Truth In The Misinformation Age, reveals how misinformation and disinformation permeate the paid media landscape and how marketers can evolve their media strategy to become more mindful right now.

Misinformation Mitigation Is Now A Top Priority For Marketers

Seventy-three percent of B2C marketing executives in Forrester’s Q2 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey, 2022, say that protecting their advertising from appearing adjacent to misinformation and disinformation content is a top priority for their marketing department for the remainder of 2022, up from 60% in Q1. While this priority is gaining steam, it is still relatively low compared to other objectives, coming in at number seven (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: 2022 Marketing Priorities For B2C Marketers

Fund Truth — Not Lies — To Preserve And Grow Consumer Trust

Marketers who fund the misinformation and disinformation industry with their ad dollars put consumer trust at risk. Forrester’s February 2022 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey found that 57% of US and UK online adults indicate that they don’t trust brands that advertise on media properties that distribute misinformation. Misinformation is an external market force that destabilizes public trust, and our research shows that companies that earn customer trust drive revenue-generating behaviors and have greater growth potential.

Dismantle Media-Funded Disinformation, Starting Today

Marketers, you can no longer afford to procrastinate on addressing the systemic misinformation problem. Start by making changes to your marketing strategy and brand safety measures to deliver a media strategy that is mindful — proactive, values-based, and innovative. Seventy-three percent of B2C marketers from Forrester’s Q2 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey, 2022, say that they actively manage their media plans to avoid misinformation sites as part of their brand safety and suitability strategy, yet 78% trust that social media platforms are implementing measures to ensure that their ad is not showing up adjacent to misinformation. To dismantle misinformation and disinformation, stop relying on other platforms and parties to keep you protected. Take matters into your own hands and start implementing brand safety measures, such as prebid requirements and informed inclusion/exclusion lists.

Read our full report to learn:

  1. How brands are inadvertently funding the misinformation and disinformation industry.
  2. The roles and responsibilities across the ad supply chain.
  3. About breakdowns that occur across the open web programmatic supply chain and on social platforms.
  4. What marketers can do now to protect their media activations.
  5. The key tenets of mindful media planning.

Be sure to register for our May 19 webinar, Funding Truth In The Misinformation Age, and attend my June 7 track session, Targeting Truth In The Misinformation Age, at CX North America.