Why is Brand Safety Important?

Now more than ever companies are striving to deliver consumers with reliable, trustworthy goods and services.  Part of maintaining integrity with the public is creating a reputation of providing consistency, and nothing creates consistency more than establishing and protecting brand safety. It is paramount that brands stand out to consumers for the right reasons, and ensuring that a brand’s marketing efforts are aligned with proper online content makes a difference in how consumers react to a particular brand in general.  

How Does a Brand Market Itself Online?

When we talk about online marketing efforts, we are essentially talking about how companies use ad space on a particular site to reach their target audience.  With over a billion websites, it’s easy for an advertisement to fail this objective. The task then becomes one of finding the target audience and placing relevant product and service ads in front of those consumers.  This is done by contextual targeting and behavioral targeting. While contextual targeting scans data contained on a website a user is viewing to produce content related ad material, behavioral targeting tracks consumers’ online behavior (websites viewed, keywords searched, etc.) to produce relevant advertisements.  Both methods of targeting must rely on brand suitability to make sure the brand’s integrity is preserved. Brand suitability means that advertisements are strategically placed within web content that is congruent with their brand’s values and ethics. Brand safety is the protection and policing of a brand’s suitability.  

Why is Brand Safety Important?

As consumers, we buy products and services based on multiple factors such as price, value, convenience, and brand familiarity and recognition.  Part of why we buy the brands we do is because we trust them to be consistent with what we see them advertising. Part of why we trust that consistency is because we see the brand aligned with content that is compatible with our beliefs and expectations of the brand.  If, however, we see an advertisement for a product or service placed within content that goes against what we perceive as the brand’s reputation, we are less likely to use the brand. Additionally, if a brand is targeting the demographic into which we fall and fails to recognize a particular nuance important to us (e.g. women don’t like to hear the word “fat” when discussing weight loss), the advertisement also misses the mark.  An example of brand safety that is more obvious is making sure that an ad for a local restaurant does not appear on a website that discusses food poisoning. As such, it is important that when companies begin to market their brands online they work with an experienced marketing agency that carefully studies their target audience and said audience’s online content. Marketing companies can do this by using various online tools, but of most importance is human interaction with those tools to ensure that the tools are functional and fully optimized.  

Creating brand suitability and brand safety is tantamount to producing a quality product or service.  If a brand does not protect its distinction and reputation online, then the quality of the product or service it offers makes no difference, as the consumer will be less likely to use the brand because of the brand inconsistent content with which it has been associated.  Companies should rely heavily on experienced marketing agencies familiar with particular websites and their users to develop their brand suitability and brand safety. Simply attempting to rely on a computer-based “bot” is not enough to deliver brand safety and protect a brand’s image.  Because of the constantly changing atmosphere of the web, using a marketing company ensures that as the web changes, brand safety remains intact.