Niki Konstantinou
Media Director

Don’t overlook the power of Brand Safety

Online campaigns should deliver positive consumer experience and brand’s reputation. Brand Safety is here to ensure both.

More and more platforms are serving ads programmatically resulting in limited control of the advertiser over the ads placement. This was a major issue back in March 2017 when most of the platforms suffered a big boycott from over 250 advertisers (including giant advertisers such as P&G). The initial problem was that ads appeared alongside content promoting terrorism, hate and other negative content. This raised a concern about the ‘safety’ of their brands’ reputation, cause by negative association.

A year later the issue not only continues with more and more advertisers being worried about their ads appearing next to negative content but now their concerns are even deeper; do online ads give consumers a positive experience and do the ads relate to their brand promise and value proposition?

An extremely vital question, especially taking into consideration that online advertising is becoming increasingly more important into the media mix. As per a recent article in the eMarketer: “recall is better with online video ads vs. TV ads”.

The answer comes down to the need of brands to run their online ads in a safe, appropriate and relevant environment, ensuring positive association and recall.

Personally, I can’t imagine a professional advertiser would be willing to pay for his/ hers ads to appear next to offensive, or contextually irrelevant content, just because it’s a ‘trending’ topic. I would even dare say that the old and so overused saying: “there is no bad publicity, only good publicity” has come to an end.

Today most of the platforms offer verification technologies that provide various levels of brand safety initiated after March 2017. Ever since, we have seen improvement towards transparency, optimizations of tools and third-party verifications.

From the advertiser’s side, lies the initial responsibility to think through a suitable digital strategy that determines and defines the acceptable level of risk their brands are able to take. Based on this strategy they should develop their sets of ‘black-lists’ and ‘white-lists’ to ensure their digital campaigns run in safe environments. However, the advertisers’ responsibility does not end here, as the digital environment is changing rapidly and therefore should be continuously on alert. Having said that, new tools and technologies always come to surface and can be used to their benefit.

One can say that brand safety is dynamic and a “work in progress”. We will be seeing more changes in the near future as the digital world is changing exponentially and the industry is pushing towards a solution.

Brand safety will remain relevant in the years to come and a hot topic for further discussion. Brands and their media agencies should rise up to the occasion to draft brand safety strategies and select to work with third party verification agencies if needed to safeguard the brands.