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Brand Safety In Digital Marketing

Olaniyan Toni 0

Brand safety is one of the major priorities for digital marketing professionals. Ensuring a brand is in good standing with consumers is important to the heart and the mission of a brand.

So what exactly is brand safety then.

What is Brand Safety?

Brand safety simply put is the practice of keeping a brand’s reputation safe when they advertise online. This might mean ensuring the brand’s ads are not placed next to or on inappropriate or inaccurate content and making sure no copyrighted materials are used without permission.

If you place ads within the display network, and those ads appear on a website that is spreading misinformation or disinformation, your brand may suffer damage because you are automatically associated with brands that are pushing inaccurate information.

For example, if your brand values religious or tribal tolerance, you wouldn’t want your brand’s ads to appear on a site that holds hateful or controversial views about other religion and tribes.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) designated 13 topics that brands should avoid associating themselves with to maintain brand safety.

These topics are military conflict, obscenity, drugs, tobacco, adult content, arms, crime, death/injury, online piracy, hate speech, terrorism, spam, and fake news.

In addition to the above, your brand might want to stay away from other topics. For instance, if your brand sells educational courses, you probably don’t want your ads to appear on gambling websites.

So, as a digital marketer, how do you make sure you’re avoiding being associated with topics you would prefer your brand not be associated with?

Ensuring Brand Safety

As a digital marketer, there are steps you can take to ensure your brand is maintaining brand safety. First, you’ll want to define what is considered to be “unsafe” for your brand. Consider what topics might be harmful to your brand.

Then, make sure you and your team understand that scale is not everything. Ending up on every single website on the internet isn’t worth the risk and harm done to your brand safety.

Next, use trusted platforms and technologies. When you’re submitting ads to display networks or social media, make sure you’re using brand safety tools to maintain brand safety.

For instance, with the Google Display Network, you can opt-out of specific sites that you want to stay away from.

Below are some specific strategies you can take to maintain brand safety:

  1. Buy ad space directly from reputable publishers. This will ensure your ads aren’t placed where you don’t want them.

    Note: doing this may mean you miss out on potential sales since you’re limiting yourself to certain customers.

  2. Use image recognition. This will identify images that deem content unsafe for your brand.
  3. Select keywords to avoid. Publishers will allow you to choose keywords to avoid, so you can include those when you submit your content.
  4. Apply geotargeting. This means making sure you know which regions your ads are running in, which help you make sure you are remaining sensitive and relevant to all your customers.


Because it’s so integral to your brand’s success, brand safety is a topic that takes a lot of careful consideration. Make sure you know what types of topics and content you don’t want your brand associated with, and then take action. After you’ve carefully considered how to maintain brand safety, publishers and tools will help you take your brand safety measures to the next level.

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