Aug'23·Andrés Auchterlonie·3 MIN

How to achieve brand safety through contextual advertising

Home How to achieve brand safety through contextual advertising

An aspect that has become increasingly important in the digital advertising landscape is brand safety. In advertising, it refers to the safety measures and practices taken by advertisers to protect their brand's reputation and ensure brand ads are displayed in appropriate and suitable environments. According to IAB Europe's 2023 Brand Safety Poll, 67% of industry experts agreed or strongly agreed that brand safety was a key priority for the industry in 2022, and 71% of respondents cited that technology innovations are helping solve brand safety concerns.

Brand safety is emerging as one of the most important aspects marketers must watch out for to ensure brand ads are not associated with harmful, offensive, or controversial content that could potentially damage the brand's image or offend the target audience. Consumers develop their perception of a brand not just based on the content it posts but the content it chooses to be surrounded by. The audience believes that brands are advocates of the content they opt to advertise beside, making ad placements very critical.

Evolving updates in data privacy regulations and the focus on brand safety and suitability have turned marketers back towards contextual advertising. Contextual targeting does not use third-party cookies and offers unmatched brand safety and suitability levels. Backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models, contextual ads analyze a page's written and visual content to place brand ads in the most optimal locations.

Establishing brand safety with contextual advertising

The brand safety measures in contextual advertising are designed to ensure brand ads are displayed alongside content and contexts that are aligned with the brand's value and target audience.

What are some of the key aspects of brand safety that contextual advertising focuses on?

  • Defining brand safety: The first step is understanding the industry-standard definition and building a framework around it. Contextual advertising complies with the GARM Brand Safety Floor + Suitability Framework created to safeguard the potential of digital media by reducing the availability and monetization of harmful content online. The framework provides a common understanding of harmful and sensitive content via content categories, where ads should not appear, and a common way of outlining different risk levels for sensitive content.
  • Identifying content categories and keywords: Brands can categorize web pages based on criteria like keywords, phrases, topics, and sentiments. This can help them display brand ads alongside content that is most relevant to their brand values and objectives and exclude irrelevant topics and keywords.
  • Brand suitability: Building on the fundamental concept of brand safety, brand suitability extends beyond avoiding negative content and helps strike a balance between reach and safety based on a brand’s unique proposition and needs. Advertisers also analyze what content themes and subjects are most suitable and relatable to their brand message and core values.

The combined forces of brand safety and suitability empower brands to go beyond the limitations of keyword blocklists that prevent advertisers from reaching audiences on channels like the news which result in missed opportunities. It helps analyze the relevance of the content's context to ensure that the brand's message reaches the intended audience within the desired context.

Brand safety + suitability examines key factors like brand guidelines, content sensitivity, audience relevance, and content categorization to ensure brand ads are placed in safe and suitable environments. Brand suitability’s ability to understand nuances in language and semantically interpret editorial content bridges the divide between risk and opportunity by providing context-based protections for advertisers and publishers.

  • Real-time monitoring: Actively monitoring brand ads helps keep a check on campaign performance, web page content, and ad placement. It provides real-time insights and alerts on ad placement by analyzing factors such as the page topic, sentiment, and quality, to enable advertisers to make informed decisions. Advertisers can take swift action to avoid the display of ads in unsuited environments by taking corrective measures and ensuring brand safety.

Prioritizing brand safety is critical for advertisers to safeguard brand image and reputation, win customers, and sustain relationships and trust. Analyzing the content and context of web pages where brand ads are placed enhances the effectiveness of advertising campaigns by ensuring alignment between the ads and the environment.

Brand safety focuses purely on avoiding a publisher, URL, or certain semantics on a page. On the other hand, contextual advertising goes beyond understanding what’s on a page and is about identifying opportunities across the web. Implementing brand safety measures through contextual advertising gives brands more significant control over where their ads appear, alleviating the risk of inappropriate ad placement and assuring campaigns align with values, objectives, and overall brand identity.

Explore contextual advertising with us. Take a look at what we've achieved for our global clientele here.


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