A strong and trustworthy brand is one of the most important assets that a business can own. That means that online brand safety is definitely a topic that all digital internet based companies should have at the top of their priority list. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), brand safety is defined as keeping brand reputation safe when the brand is advertised online. This means avoiding placing their ads next to inappropriate, unsavory, or irrelevant web content, making sure to promote ad security and quality, as well as a satisfactory and undisrupted user experience, at all times.
Kinds of content that can compromise online brand safety
When advertising their products and services online, most brands don't want their names or ads to apprear on websites related to pornography or the adult industry, fake news, or violent content. Whilst this makes complete sense, it is important to bear in mind that these kinds of content aren’t the only ones that can compromise brand safety and reputation. Rather, some other controversial topics can be considered inappropriate too, for instance, content associated with drugs, alcohol, certain political ideologies, fanaticism, extreme religious views, etc.
One organism that works to protect online businesses against sensitive or controversial topics is the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which is an advertising business organization that develops online advertising industry standards. The IAB Standards are put in place to promote a safe and sustainable online industry and make sure that all parties, from brands to end users, are protected from ad fraud, bad actors and inappropriate or unsafe content online. In order to do so, the IAB Tech Lab identifies the following online brand safety categories as “sensitive topics”:
- Adult & Explicit Sexual Content
- Arms & Ammunition
- Crime & Harmful Acts to Individuals and Society and Human Right Violations
- Death, Injury, or Military Conflict
- Online Piracy
- Hate Speech & Acts of Aggression
- Obscenity and Profanity
- Illegal Drugs/Tobacco/E-Cigarettes/Vaping/Alcohol
- Spam or Harmful Content
- Sensitive Social Issues
Why is brand safety important?
Increasingly more brands should become aware of brand safety because keeping a safe and reputable business online plays an important role in the digital world. Bear in mind that all online businesses are monitored, supported and measured by many industry standards and benchmarks, such as the aforementioned IAB, the Coalition for Better Ads, the TAG, and similar.
Online brand safety is not only about safeguarding your brand image and values, it is also about ensuring your business stays competitive, and keeping your ad spend optimized by serving your ads in proper, visible ad spots on publisher sites, away from undesired or controversial content. However, while most online businesses work hard in order to safeguard their brand safety and reputation as much as they can, it does not always go the way that brand management teams expect - As we can observe on the image below, even the social media giant YouTube can sometimes experience online brand safety issues:
Simply put, with both online businesses and website publishers moving towards more controlled environments, brand safety has become even more essential, because of the following reasons:
- Picking the best ad spots: A big part of focusing on brand safety is avoiding advertisers promoting their products and services in ad spots next to inappropriate or unsavory content which could damage the brand's reputation, image, and values.
- Avoiding legal complications: It protects advertisers from being involved in potential legal liabilities associated with having their ads placed next to illegal or forbidden content.
- Ensuring ad compliance and traffic quality: Brands want to reduce the risk of serving ads on low-quality or bad websites that have a tendency to offer fraudulent impressions or clicks.
4 Key measures to ensure your online brand Safety
Lately, brand safety and ad compliance have become a more pressing issue and point of focus for businesses, especially if they choose to do online advertising. In order to keep your brand’s reputation safe and your ad safety and quality under control, there are some key steps that you can take:
#1 - Keywords blacklisting: Blacklisting keywords is the easiest and most basic way to avoid having your ads placed alongside certain keywords that you would consider damaging your brand reputation and images. Blacklisting keywords means selecting certain keywords and choosing not to display your ads next to them. Some native platforms offer this option, or you can do it through your ad network or reputable publisher sites.
#2 - Choose a trustful programmatic provider or ad network: Make sure to do your research before you decide to pay for the services of an ad network or platform to run your campaigns. Reputable ad platforms always have either internal or external (or both) tools to ensure the safety and quality of their ad delivery chain from beginning to end. They should also offer extra metrics and performance analytics for their users to gain more control over their campaigns.
#3 - Stay away from blacklisted publishers: Websites don’t get blacklisted for nothing, no matter how tempting their offer might be! So, if you find some domains or publishers that have been blacklisted, avoid working with them as you might put your brand's reputation in danger - It doesn’t matter how low the bidding price they offer might be.
#4 - Partner with a Brand Safety or Ad Security expert: Pair up with a partner who knows how to prevent malvertising and to protect your online business! By choosing a solution provider who has ample experience in providing brand safety and online ad security for internet based businesses such as AdSecure, you ensure that your marketing strategy is consistent with your brand's values, and protects your revenue, compliance, and end users.
Integrating a new online brand safety process within your online marketing strategies is a must in today's digital world. AdSecure offers features purposely developed to help you to reinforce your online brand safety strategy. Whether you are an advertiser, a website publisher, or an ad supply platform, AdSecure can provide excellent coverage to monitor your ad tech supply chain or website content and flag any ads that could cause issues for you and your brand. Contact us for more information on how we can protect your business!
Don't put off implementing brand safety measures, otherwise there is a big chance that you are leaving your business unprotected against bad actors and inappropriate content, putting your brand reputation at risk!