A Comprehensive Guide to Brand Safety in Digital Marketing

Do you know what brand safety is?

Do you want to know how it helps in keeping your brand safe?

The process that enables advertisers to keep their brands away from getting tainted or associated with any kind of the wrong message is Brand Safety.

Brand safety measures help by avoiding the risk of any potential threat to your business.

Before anything, it is important to know what brand safety is & how it can help your brand prevent various threats.

Bot traffic, fake news, extremism, and Misalignment of website Pages or ads — are threats that can be caused to your brand safety.

Brand safety is about dealing with the threat of ads being placed beside or within any form of potentially harmful content. It’s about creating a fully transparent online space. One important point to note here is, every brand is here to sell something unique, and there cannot be any prescriptive list of unsafe media.

However, in general, your brand exists in a safe environment if it’s clean, free of offensive, illegal, and salacious content.

Here’s defining, “Brand Safety” in detail:

What is Brand Safety?

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines brand safety as, “keeping a brand’s reputation safe when they advertise online.” This definition, of course, talks about the prevention of putting your ads in any form of inappropriate content. Brand safety is the business of ad trading that involves a safe environment.

Do you know if your audience has trust in you or not?

Most online marketers knowingly or unknowingly are struggling to achieve a brand-safe image. Brand safety is an important part of digital marketing advertising. It helps with gaining your audiences’ trust.

The user-driven digital media landscape helps with keeping the complexity of your brand safe going. The measures taken for maintaining the brand safety help with the brand’s reputation unharmed infringes copyright, and it reduces the misplacement.

What are the forms of threats causing Brand Safety?

Fake news.

Your brand’s reputation and revenue depend to a huge extent on the kind of placement environment of your ad. And, a digital marketing landscape that spreads fake news can cause an unparalleled threat to your brand’s safety.

You’ll be under a rock and could be involved in advertising for someone who is engaged in fraudulent activities. With your intentionally prepared headline, you are making people click through a site. If you are not caring about your brand safety, you may be falling into the trap of placing your brand next to some malicious allegations, and false articles. To help marketers’ keep their brand-safe, Google has also updated its AdSense policy. AdSense does not now allow websites that conceal, misstate, or misrepresent information.

Bot Traffic.

Another threat often caused to brand safety includes Fraudulent clicks. According to a study conducted in 2017, almost 21.8% of the traffic came in from the bad bot. Bad bot traffic can cause a threat to your website in a number of ways, but the most significant of them all would be reduced ROI & conversion rate. But, thanks to the technologies that have come up to fight fraudulent clicks.

Extremist sites.

And, then there are ads that are placed on the extremist sites that talk about extremist opinions & views. Having placed your ad on this website does not bother a market unless he is unaware of what’s happening, but discovering his brand associated with a hateful viewpoint is the greatest nightmare. It could be understood as, through your ad, you are funding an extremist viewpoint. Placing your ad somewhere featuring some sexist, far-right, racist, far left-can affect negatively to your brand value. It can damage a brand completely. Many top brands inadvertently are spending millions of dollars in supporting these extremist views. Many brand safety scandal cases have surfaced in the last few years and it looks like we are not prepared enough to get these problems solved. Even for giants like YouTube, dealing with the pressing problem of Brand safety has become a big issue.

Misalignment of Pages & ads.

Advertising is effective when there is a mindful uncoupling of the ads and pages. The unfortunate juxtaposition of ads with an absolutely contrasting piece of content can be dangerous for any brand’s image. Suppose, for instance, someone has content on a particular page that talks about “how to help yourself during coronavirus pandemic” and the ad that is placed just next to this particular content is from the companies’ traveling site accompanying call-to-action as “Travel Now” — Book your tickets now. This can showcase an irresponsible brand that never cares about what’s being placed on the site.

How to Take care of your Brand’s Safety?

It is important to reach out to only the premier inventories as it takes advertisers to a location where ads are placed safely. Publishers along with brands are concerned about the brand’s safety and how to move to a controlled environment. These controlled environments particularly include programmatic direct deals and programmatic marketing platforms (PMPs). The idea is to reach the target audience by focusing more on quality than on quantity. Here are some standard best practices you must follow to keep your brand safe. Let’s get started:

  1. Look for a Reputable programmatic platform

Look for a programmatic platform that you know will keep your brand safe with the right placement of ads. The advertising agencies that use Programmatic techniques where advertisers with the help of machine & algorithm can purchase display space. While this step is one of the most crucial ones, it is the most difficult one too. So, before you make the final decision on this, you must answer a few important questions — Which space do you want for your ad? How hungry are you to attract your audience? Which tools will you be using?-

  1. Choose Companies that offer third-party verification.

Choose companies that will look into third-party pages and sites before your ad gets published. This is such an important step for every marketer who is really concerned about brand safety. This will make sure that your ads are not being placed at locations (within content, pages & sites that are unsafe) where it can damage your brand value. These companies offer third-party verification to keep your brand safe.

  1. Make sure how you define your Brand Safety.

However, various organizations have defined their brand safety guidelines, you must define yours. This is another important aspect for your overall brand because — unlike many other parameters, brand safety can have a variant definition for different brands. For instance, getting your ads shown alongside some form of unsafe content for an XYZ company may be safe for you. Brand safety can have different meanings for a pharma company than that of a travel planning website.

  1. Keep it Transparent.

It will keep you susceptible to a variety of frauds — if you are not transparently maintaining the data like where your ads are being served and where you are spending your money. If you are not keeping these data ready, you’ll not really understand where your money is flowing. One of the best ways to build a robust media buying strategy is in-house initiatives.

  1. Don’t Choose the blacklisted publishers.

This is even not a thing to mention because you already know that it’s important to avoid blacklisted publishers. While they may seem attractive with low prices, and such aggressive marketing, they can bring your brand into danger placing them alongside content that’s not right for your brand value.

  1. Be aware of the campaign’s exclusions.

You must be aware of the campaigns’ negative targets. These days most publishers give options, at the time of the campaign setting — you can exclude the negative targets. It is the same as Facebook does — by allowing advertisers to exclude anything they want.

Wrapping Up.

Today, it is necessary to incorporate brand safety practices and rules while you are advertising your brand. There are companies that provide absolute transparency by monitoring every click to keep your brand protected against any fraud. At AdMedia, we believe in following a similar approach by providing security solutions to protect the validity of your brand. With strategies like Native ads, we ensure your site is never associated with inappropriate content. AdMedia provides full transparency on ad placement and partners with DoubleVerify and Risk IQ to protect against fraud and malware. The risks are many but applying programmatic campaigns will never keep you away from rewards.

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