Jan'23·Jordi Capdevila·3 MIN

What will brand safety look like in 2023?

Home What will brand safety look like in 2023?

Digital advertising has continually been on the rise, and 2020 saw an enormous spike in digital ad investments. Global brands invest millions of dollars in advertising to engage with consumers, keep them informed of the happenings within the brand, and build a community of trusted brand advocates. But what happens if an ad goes wrong? Can an ad go wrong? 

Beyond just the content or through behind an ad copy or design, where a consumer views these ads are critical. The choice of ad placement reflects on what content and messaging a brand chooses to associate itself with. Brand safety refers to the measures taken by brands to avoid association or ad placement alongside negative or harmful content like hate speech or terrorism. 

A 2021 survey revealed that nearly 73% of respondents opined that advertisers should prevent their ads from displaying near pornographic content, closely followed by 72% naming hate speech. 

Keyword blocking: Does this traditional ad strategy work in the 21st century? 

A research showed that ads that appear near negative content result in a 2.8x drop in people’s intent to associate with such brands. That’s not all - most consumers believe that all ad placements are intentional. This means that an unintentional ad placement is viewed as an intentional brand choice by consumers, and not a mistake, concluding that a particular brand is opting to endorse negative or harmful content through its poor ad placement. 

Two-thirds of consumers who indicated high purchase intent for a specific brand were less likely to buy from that brand after being exposed to such ads. So, what do advertisers do? The traditional strategy of keyword blocking, blacklisting, and domain blocking. 

The results? Digital ad revenue losses for publishers and significant opportunities missed out by advertisers as these are ineffective strategies that result in overblocking. For example, advertising on news sites is an opportunity missed by traditional strategies because they do not understand the context or the fact that a word can have multiple meanings. IAB research shows that 84% of consumers feel that advertising within the news either increases or maintains brand trust. 

New-age advertising strategies: Going beyond basic keyword blocking and ensuring brand safety

Practices like keyword blocking may result in brands missing out on advertising opportunities alongside valuable content like news sites. To avoid such exclusions, brands are opting for contextual advertising strategies to ensure brand safety. 

Contextual advertising relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help brands enhance their understanding of consumer interests, and deliver ads on relevant websites that target the right audiences, without the use of cookies. By analyzing both the written and visual content of a page, contextual AI provides an ideal and safe environment for brands to advertise. 

Both advertisers and publishers need an environment where all inappropriate and harmful content is avoided. Contextual advertising is compliant with The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, GARM: Brand Safety Floor + Suitability Framework that is enabling the creation of a safer digital media environment by reducing the availability and monetization of harmful content online. This framework defines 3 key aspects to help the advertising industry adopt a common understanding - 

  • Content categories to define what is harmful and sensitive content 
  • Brand Safety Floor to express where ads should not appear
  • Brand Suitability Framework to describe different risk levels for sensitive content

This helps avoid all inappropriate content like adult & explicit sexual content, online piracy, hate speech, obscenity and profanity, and terrorism. 

What makes Brand Safety a necessity? 

With a plethora of content available online, defining where an ad is displayed is as important as the ad content itself. Poor placement like a burger ad alongside an article talking about alarming obesity levels or a jewelry ad next to content about poverty or a natural calamity can affect brand reputation and significantly impact sales numbers. 

Ads that are contextually irrelevant or insensitive do more damage than good, costing brands millions and resulting in irreversible damage. This makes brand safety an absolute must-have in digital marketing strategies to earn customer trust and build brand equity. 

2023: Going beyond just brand safety

Today, global leaders are going a step ahead and leveraging contextual advertising for not just brand safety, but brand suitability. With brand safety and suitability, not only are advertisers steering clear of any harmful content, but are also ensuring their ads are rendered on websites that are contextually relevant and align with the brand’s overall theme and messaging. 

Modern advertising strategies are talking about brand safety and suitability - advertising within users’ realm of interests, in an environment that is positive for the brand. Contextual advertising’s ability to understand nuances in language and semantically interpret editorial content elevates brand suitability, thus bridging the divide between risk and opportunity. 

Contextual advertising provides context-based protections for advertisers and publishers, and powers an ad strategy that is more personalized and relevant to consumers. It helps capture user attention as they resonate better with ads that are related to what they are looking for or researching about. 

Mitsubishi partnered with us and saw +27% higher unaided brand awareness and +32% better engagement with the new ad creatives. We at Seedtag are empowering leading global brands to create high-impact advertising strategies by going contextual. Take a look here or get in touch with us for more. 

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