Understanding Brand Safety and its Importance for Publishers

 Understanding Brand Safety and its Importance for Publishers

Previously, ad income nearly entirely relied on contextual targeting, in which all brands affiliated with a specific issue competed for ad space next to a related article or site.

However, when programmatic advertising gained traction and behavioral targeting began to alter Google and YouTube’s algorithms, marketers began to lose control over where their advertisements appeared.

Marketers and digital advertising agencies that purchased advertisements from Google and other online ad providers discovered that they were no longer purchasing ad space on specific websites, but rather ads tailored to those with certain interests or demographic characteristics.

This caused serious issues for Google in 2017, with major brand names such as AT&T and Verizon stopping their ad purchases as a result of their advertising content showing alongside films generated by terrorist supporters.

This pushed brand safety to the forefront of digital advertising strategies, with businesses attempting to protect their brand by providing ad inventory on websites with relevant context for their industry.

Data show that brand safety affects 75% of firms, yet only 26% take action.

What is Brand Safety?

“Brand safety” is “keeping a brand’s reputation secure when they publish their adverts online,” according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). Simply put, brand safety is the process of ensuring that ad material does not display next to any type of dangerous content.

As a consequence, the chance of ad misplacement is decreased, and a brand’s reputation is not affected. Support for infringing materials and services is also being phased away. However, it is significantly more complicated than it looks.

Why is Brand Safety Important for Publishers?

Brand safety is critical for digital publishers because it protects their income stream from potential ad placement losses.

While brand safety is becoming more popular in the advertising sector, many small and medium-sized publishers are still unaware of brand safety standards. More renowned publications, such as news sites, struggle to supply advertisers with clear best practice rules.

As a result, many digital publishers are missing out on lucrative monetization prospects. Understanding brand safety and being able to communicate these findings to brand advertisers simply and concisely is critical for publishers to achieve optimum return on ad spend (ROA). 

Here are some things worth giving a thought.

How to Maintaining Brand Safety by Preventing Ads From Appearing Next to Unsafe Content?

  • Be Certain of Meeting the Standards of the Advertiser

Advertisers will evaluate numerous ad quality measures when deciding which sites to publish their digital advertising campaigns on, including the usage of banned keywords, domain authority, viewability score, fill rate, and a site’s previous bid price. If these variables do not fit the advertiser’s brand safety requirements, your site may be excluded from the campaign.

  • Prevent Bot Traffic

Bot traffic is commonly known to significantly lower a site’s brand safety score. If a demand-side platform detects unusual traffic on your site, this data will be made available to other purchasers. While it may not always be able to prevent bot traffic, you should strive to understand these metrics, be as clear about this data as possible, and reveal the proportion of traffic in your site policy.

  • Examine Your Ad Network

Whether you deal with ad networks, video ad networks, or demand-side platforms (DSPs) to do your media purchasing and digital marketing, the technology they supply must encourage brand safety and safeguard customers. They should have adequate protection against ad insertion fraud and domain spoofing in place.

  • Collaborate with Brand Safety Experts

Publishers may take the uncertainty out of brand advertising by partnering with a programmatic partner with experience in brand safety. This will secure their income, reputation, and compliance.

Why is Brand Safety Important for Publishers?

Ensuring brand safety is critical for advertisers, especially in a digital environment where media waste—often related to viewability and fraudulent activity—is rampant.

Advertisers value brand safety for the following reasons:

  1. It protects advertisers from having their ads placed next to unsavoury content that could damage their reputation.
  2. It guarantees that advertisements are not displayed on websites that are likely to generate false clicks.
  3. It enables marketers to avoid potential legal obligations related with their advertisements appearing alongside specific sorts of material.

While it is tempting to conceive of advertising and web page content as distinct entities, this is not the case. Customers identify companies with the content they see and respond accordingly.

With this decade bringing in a new media world, this relationship has never been more pervasive.

The worldwide ad tech business refers to the “dirty twelve,” a group of 12 dangerous digital settings that might jeopardize a brand’s image. This page has been modified to include a thirteenth category.

Advertisers should avoid the following while looking for a spot to post their ads:

  • Military conflict 
  • Obscenity 
  • Drugs 
  • Tobacco
  • Adult
  • Arms 
  • Crime 
  • Death/injury 
  • Online piracy 
  • Hate speech 
  • Terrorism 
  • Spam/harmful sites 
  • Fake news


80% of respondents believed that brands should be concerned about their ads appearing next to inappropriate content on a website or app. Brand safety demands more than a “one-size-fits-all” approach to digital activities as a whole. There are peculiarities specific to individual channels that must be addressed when developing brand safety guidelines to safeguard your brand from appearing alongside harmful material.

Robin Williams

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