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How to achieve brand safety in digital advertising

SmartBrief discusses the importance of brand safety through native advertising.

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

How to achieve brand safety in digital advertising

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For years, advertisers have quietly been looking for ways to be less dependent on the advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook. Digital marketing efforts have become uncomfortably reliant on search advertising and display advertising via Google Ads, in addition to Facebook’s near monopoly in the social media advertising space. Marketers across nearly every industry are looking to diversify their online advertising strategies, under constant worry that these traditional digital ad channels may become unreliable in time.

This move has become considerably less quiet over the past few weeks as advertisers large and small are pulling their spend from social platforms because of their unhappiness with the platforms’ lack of enforcement of rules regulating hate speech, fake news and other misleading content. As a result, Facebook has recently agreed to a brand-safety audit by the Media Rating Council.

Some advertisers are tackling brand safety issues by going a step further and launching frameworks for responsible media buying. IPG Mediabrands, a leading agency group, announced recently that they would begin holding media companies with whom they do business accountable. As Allison Weissbrot explains in AdExchanger, “Unlike brand safety, media responsibility is about more than protecting a brand and its reputation – it’s about protecting the communities a brand serves and acknowledging the impact that media has on society.”

Publishers have long been vocally raising their hands in hopes marketers will look to their direct buy options for a less risky advertising venture than they experience with the duopoly. This has led to a number of publishers positioning themselves as brand-safe alternatives — some with their own purpose-built adtech such as The Washington Post’s Zeus. There is even talk of publishers banding together to achieve scale to better compete with the duopoly.

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a trade group representing digital publishers, recently told Folio Magazine, “There is no question our members are brand-safe alternatives to Facebook. As much as we expect these ad dollars to shift towards our premium publishers, this isn’t a tug-of-war.”

Another way marketers can achieve brand-safety piece of mind is with advertising enabled, human-curated email newsletters — traditionally some of the safest platforms on which brands can run their ad campaigns. Knowing your message likely won’t run next to controversial stories or inappropriate content, but rather content hand-picked for a particular audience and publication is a tremendous anxiety-reducing thing for marketers to enjoy.

SmartBrief’s proprietary email newsletter model allows for marketers to reach their target audience in multiple ways: traditional, endemic insertion to an entire publication’s audience for brand awareness and thought leadership with both display ads and native content offerings; demographic targeting across the network for direct response top of funnel activity; vertical or horizontal dedicated eblasts that offer a potential mix of all tactics outlined above. 

Because the audiences are aligned with industry or interest specific topics, the types of content contained within each newsletter are curated from only reliable sources across the web and is hyper-relevant. Marketers can be assured a level of brand safety unavailable virtually anywhere else in the digital advertising landscape. 

For more information on SmartBrief’s brand-safe advertising solutions, drop us a note.