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How to ensure your brand safety measures aren’t impacting your reach

Brand safety is a crucial concept for all brands, especially from a digital perspective where we often buy media programmatically. Ensuring ads appear across and alongside relevant content is extremely important to avoid creating negative connotations around brands. Considering this, the media industry has worked to accommodate these needs by curating blocklists and additional tools alike to better support brand safety. However, this initiative appears to have plateaued and there’s now growing demand to better align brand safety. This is to avoid the original, arguably ‘extreme’ brand safety measures preventing or blocking brands appearing against relevant but potentially automatically block-listed content. As a result, there’s been a growing insistence that we move to consider brand suitability, rather than applying a blanket brand safety notion to all brands and instances.

Fortunately, alternatives to outdated blocklists are becoming more readily available to assist in buying media. These tools work to identify incoherent content pre-bid, which eliminates the need for blocklists. Other networks have worked to creative private marketplaces (PMPs) to support LGBT+ content specifically, as roughly 73% of LGBT+ online news stories (neutral or positive) unfairly fall under blocklists. Furthermore, publishers have argued that using outdated blocklists will reduce an advertiser’s Gen Z reach – which is something to consider for brands looking to reach a younger demographic.

All Response Media viewpoint
As an agency, we work to ensure all delivered media is deemed brand-safe and relevant. Brand safety advancements are increasing, which supports the diversification of standardised blocklists. Grapeshot via Oracle offers brand safety options to identify risks associated with the textual content of webpages (Grapeshot: Description of Methodology, 2019). The two standard levels are maximum reach and maximum protection. Both options allow for the creation of custom keyword blocklists, to ensure that the safety options are tailored. Similarly, customers have the option to positively target segments that may otherwise be deemed as unsafe. This ensures that advertisers don’t automatically exclude audiences such as the LGBT+ community or Gen Z due to solely using ‘outdated’ blocklists. Based on this we feel there’s room for blocklists alongside more advanced brand safety technology like Grapeshot. This way we avoid compromising on reach, while still ensuring content remains brand-safe and tailored to the advertiser.

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