What Is Brand Safety (And Why Is It Important)?



We can all agree that: brand safety is now more important than ever.

As the need to advertise online grows, so does the risk to our brand messaging.

After all: It only takes one bad placement to go from budding campaign to PR nightmare.

This means it is paramount that brand managers and marketers educate themselves on the potential brand safety risks out there today.

Which is exactly why we put together this article, to show you:

What brand safety is.

Why it is important.

Simple strategies you need to have peace of mind in your online advertising.


Brand safety refers to the protective measures taken by advertising platforms to ensure your brand’s identity, integrity and messaging are not damaged.

It is the agreement that the platform will safeguard your adverts from being shown alongside:

Websites

Videos

Articles

Podcasts

Social media updates

That could potentially hurt your reputation, contradict your messaging, or alter the intention of your advert.

For example:

When this BP advert ran alongside a POLITICO news article about climate change protests, it posed a risk to their brand safety (in the form of context irrelevance):

Although people familiar with digital marketing can tell this is a failing of Google’s Adsense algorithm, this may not be so black and white for consumers.

For them, it may be easy to think a brand has paid for their advert to be displayed in that exact place.



Worse still, if your advert were to be featured alongside content containing:

Military conflict

Political opinions

Illicit drugs

Hate speech

Terrorism

Crime

It could be seen as an endorsement and prompt your target audience to avoid or spread negative word-of-mouth about your brand.



In fact:

A 2019 survey from AdColony found that 49% of social media users changed their opinion of a brand when the brand’s advert was displayed next to inappropriate content.

This knowledge — combined with some recent brand safety issues on platforms like YouTube — has seen a rise in pressure for these platforms to improve their safeguarding methods.