Jun'24·Andrés Auchterlonie·3 MIN

The evolution of brand safety to brand suitability and the need for context

Home The evolution of brand safety to brand suitability and the need for context

In today’s increasingly competitive digital landscape, the most important metric brands are vying for is attention. Brands want to establish themselves, actively engage with consumers, and build a loyal customer base that values the brand and everything it stands for. 

Amidst all the chaos, brands taking steps to make their presence felt and garner audience attention must focus on a key factor, context. Advertisers have always prioritized the content and creatives that go on every ad and the target audience. But just content and targeting don’t make the cut anymore. Beyond the traditional elements, the content surrounding an ad also plays a crucial role in determining its impact on the audience. 

Customers are quick to express their displeasure when irrelevant ads disrupt their browsing experience. While creating a compelling ad strategy is important, the context of an ad setting and the content accompanying an ad are equally important. The shift to contextual advertising is not just being fueled by the demise of third-party cookies and the implementation of data privacy regulation but the need for contextually relevant advertising strategies. 

What makes context in advertising essential? 

While technology may have opened up a myriad of new channels and ad formats, when and where they meet a consumer makes all the difference. Imagine you’re reading an article on climate change and its impact and an ad for a new sports car breaks your flow. What if you search for a mountain bike once and it disrupts your online shopping experience with ads weeks later? That’s why they say context is king.

A study by DoubleVerify revealed that 69% of consumers are more likely to look at an ad if it is relevant to the content they are reading. 67% of consumers said they are open to viewing relevant ads from new brands while 44% said they have tried a new brand after seeing a relevant ad alongside a piece of content they were consuming.

Contextual irrelevance can impact a brand beyond just attention metrics. Brands need to ensure their ads are displayed in an environment that is safe, relevant, and aligns with their values and brand image.   

Prioritizing brand safety and brand suitability 

Brand safety refers to the set of practices that help protect a brand’s image and reputation by ensuring it ​is not associated with inappropriate or undesirable content online. Brand safety measures help prevent mismatches that can severely impact brand image. For example, imagine an organic baby food company’s ad appearing in an article about pesticide overuse. Such improper ad placement can damage the brand's image and erode consumer trust.

Brand safety measures protect reputation and display ads in a safe and appropriate environment, preventing wastage of ad dollars by ensuring ads are not placed next to irrelevant content that is unlikely to be effective. Brand suitability is an evolution of brand safety that goes beyond just avoiding the negative and aligns the brand with content that resonates with its values and target audience. 

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) framework was founded in 2019 to improve the safety and sustainability of digital advertising, reduce harmful content online, and promote integrity and accountability in the digital media ecosystem. Understanding the GARM brand safety floor and suitability framework is integral to achieving brand safety and suitability. It enables brands to identify hazardous content and or content that conveys an incorrect message about the brand’s values and improves brand alignment. 

Going a step ahead with contextual brand safety

Brand safety primarily focuses on keeping a brand away from harmful or undesirable content like hate speech, violence, or pornography. The evolution of brand safety paved the way for brand suitability which focuses on aligning with the right audience and context. With a renewed focus on contextual relevance, brand suitability involves more nuanced strategies that ensure ad placements resonate with the brand's values and target audience. 

Contextual advertising empowers brands to achieve the highest levels of brand safety and suitability. The targeting strategy enables brands to reach target audiences within relevant contexts at the most opportune times, thus increasing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Strategical ad placements create positive associations with the content and environment they appear in and allow brands to showcase their values and target audiences who share similar values.

With the right blend of brand safety and suitability measures in place, contextual advertising avoids negative content and strategically places ads to maximize impact and brand alignment.

Want to learn more about contextual targeting and its benefits?

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