Is Brand Safety Enough?

On May 18, 2021

Is Brand Safety Enough? (Tim Beard, Managing Director APAC, Silverbullet)

For marketers, brand safety and suitability has become a major focus, especially in today’s politically and economically volatile world. Brands need to be confident that their ads are placed in relevant, meaningful and suitable environments.

To keep track of where their content is shown, brands are pretty well clued up on implementing the tools to place their ads in “brand-safe” contexts, but it’s becoming ever more prevalent that a ‘one size fits all’ solution isn’t enough for today’s climate.

A recent 4D (a division of Silverbullet) and Factmata whitepaper, Is brand safety enough?, explores how marketing now requires nuanced brand suitability beyond the traditional scope of existing brand safety providers. The research reveals that marketers should be seeking AI-based systems, to help them focus on building a safer future, giving them a deeper understanding of the quality, safety and credibility of any piece of content on the web.

Silverbullet’s 4D Outcomes Engine and Factmata found unsuitable content flagged by Factmata, but missed by existing brand safety vendors, equates to 0.71% of total spend. With global programmatic spend in 2020 reaching US$126.5 billion, advertisers lost around $898 million on content considered unsuitable or unsafe for brands just in the last year.

It’s time to redefine context

The vast majority of traditional contextual solutions were built at the dawn of programmatic advertising, and many have not kept up to speed with the nuances in how harmful online content is framed, worded, and produced.

Traditional algorithms rely on keyword targeting and blocking, which alone do not protect a brand entirely. And, with restrictions around the walled gardens making it even more difficult to manage brand safety, businesses are rightfully searching for new solutions.

It’s time to redefine context; to explore the new advancements in technology and AI to gain greater confidence on where ads are being placed.

It’s time to act now

In 2020, the unforeseen global pandemic brought brand safety and suitability challenges into sharp focus for many marketers.

As publishers across the globe unveiled the impact of COVID-19 to their readers, they simultaneously began to lose revenue from a broad spectrum of advertisers who were blocking pages inadvertently.

This is because the fundamental methodology of many brand safety tools relies simply on the blocking of keywords. For example, if an advertiser decided to add COVID-19 to their block-list in order to avoid appearing next to negative news stories, they would effectively be blocking almost all of the leading global news sites of the time.

The open web is a difficult place to navigate, and brand safety has fast become the number one

focus for marketers moving forward in this politically and economically volatile environment. The good news is, brand safety and reach do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Tips for brand safety

As organisations step into the new marketing age, where third-party cookies fade away and contextual intelligence will surge, Factmata and Silverbullet recommend some brand safety tips every marketer should know when beefing out their safety policy.

  • Firstly, modern marketers who want to thrive in the new marketing age need to be aware of nuance and true context to identify the right moment and the right environment in order to align with the right message.

  • Secondly, brands looking for safe and suitable solutions will want to align themselves with advanced and trusted products that move far beyond the scope of traditional brand safety and targeting methods.

  • Lastly, an independent, open architecture approach in the chosen contextual outcomes engine is vital to ingest first-party data from whichever platform a company has in place, from DMPs and CDPs to DSPs and ad servers, to be able to create bespoke contexts and apply them to future campaigns.

The message is clear. Old ways of working are no longer enough on their own.

Download our latest whitepaper now.

Tim Beard, Managing Director APAC, Silverbullet