#NoFilter:  A Quick Look at Brand Safety

Content may indeed be king, but context is the throne upon which it sits. There’s a reason why medieval thrones were so elaborate — they helped shape public perception of those who occupied them. Fair or not, the same concept is in play when it comes to brand advertising.

Brand safety is all about ensuring that your royalty (your brand’s content) is sitting on a worthy throne. But when it comes to advertising, there are plenty of places you don’t want your content anywhere near. While the level of undesirability can vary from brand to brand (what’s completely unacceptable for a children’s toy company might be ok for a game developer), brand advertising management expert Bannerflow has identified what they refer to as the “Dirty Dozen” of toxic contexts.

Brand Safety

Less concerning but still undesirable is what Private Eye magazine has dubbed “malgorithms”, cases where a display ad and the page it’s on are significantly misaligned. While sometimes the outcome is merely humorous or ironic — a land-clearing service’s advertising being served on a conservation page, for example — it can often be counterproductive or in poor taste. (Imagine an ad for an exclusive children’s clothing brand displayed next to a story about the plight of Third World orphans).

So how do you make sure your brand is communicating in a safe space? Divisive, salacious content is everywhere, and civil discourse is an endangered species. There’s no doubt the digital streets are meaner than ever, so here are a few self-defense options every brand should know about:

Protected ecosystems. Moderated sites — or even better, those that only provide one-way interaction — help avoid the toxic contexts of spam, noxious flame wars and other inappropriate content. And sites limited to verified subscribers or users not only safeguard your brand but boost value by shutting out bot fraud.

Chaperoned contacts. High school may be over, but brands still get judged by who they hang out with. Pairing up with a respected company gives you instant credibility with their users/followers and can elevate your brand’s standing with them. The key word here is “respected” — make sure you do your due diligence on any potential partners to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Contextually targeted brand messaging. Remember those “malgorithms”? Your brand can avoid this misfortune by seeking out sites that provide the ability to choose your advertising’s context. Options should include targeting by audience activity or affiliation, location, device and/or keyword.

Brands can even take things a step further by proactively placing themselves in purpose-driven contexts, where people have actively come together to do Good. You’ve not only built a worthy throne for your “king”, but the goodwill of those who follow you as well.

If your target audience happens to be W25-54, SignUp offers one of the safest, most positive environments for effective brand advertising. We’d love to help you explore the unique opportunities we can offer your brand — let’s talk!


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