If you’ve been staying up-to-date with ad tech news, you’ve probably heard the term brand safety thrashed about. The term made headlines when big name brands like Verizon, AT&T and Johnson & Johnson pulled advertisements from YouTube in March after an increasing international controversy surrounding extremist content on YouTube.
But what exactly is brand safety?
It refers to methods used to ensure a brand’s ad won’t be displayed in a situation that could damage the brand’s reputation. There are a couple of ways a brand’s safety can be violated.
Say a chocolate company wants to advertise their latest product launch, but their ad appears on a popular diet website that says chocolate is bad for you. That’s an example of brand safety being offended. That brand would be better served if their ad was featured almost on any other site.
Seems like a pretty important topic, right? With the world’s current climate that includes fake news, extremist content and less than savory content, protecting a brand’s safety should be a marketer’s main priority. Brand safety has only been made more difficult with how social media makes it easy for people to spot ads where they shouldn’t be.
There’s even a social media activist group called the Sleeping Giants that encourages brands from featuring their ads on specific sites, mainly ultra-conservative sites. With brands being watched constantly, especially in a tumultuous climate, it’s important that their brand safety is protected.
The current chaos that’s surrounding brand safety seems like a giant game of blame-casting and finger pointing with nothing getting done to fix the problem. And while it may seem like an insurmountable task to protect a brand’s safety completely, there are a few tips marketers can follow in order to ensure their brand’s safety:
The internet is an entity that cannot be controlled entirely. Content of all kinds, including controversial and undesirable, will make its way on there no matter what. And if you’re a brand engaging with digital advertising, then there’s a chance your ads will appear next to content that doesn’t necessarily align with your values. While there is no foolproof solution to keeping a brand safe in the digital advertising sphere, brands can remain active in the fight and continue to follow tips and guidelines.