In this post we’ll discuss brand safety as it relates to contextual targeting.
The reason we’re putting these together in the same category is because the underlying technology that makes contextual targeting work, is also available to make these other solutions work.
The basic ideas is that web crawlers, algorithms, and data scientists are used to create solutions that tracks activities on a website. The same technology helps brands steer into, or avoid, certain types of content. It can also help brands steer away from webpage loads that appear to be fraudulent, etc.
Brand safety lets advertisers avoid ad targeting alongside content that would hurt their brand. Typically, brand safety is about preventing ad delivery on adult content, hate speech, and extreme violence. Most brands will agree that ads shouldn’t sponsor this type of content. But, when you get into the gray area, there are other considerations.
A hotel chain that’s running brand advertising in the middle of 2020 may not want to run ads on a news article talking about Covid19.
Prior to the Coronavirus, let’s say MGM Casinos is advertising. You might remember in 2017 there was a terrorist event in Las Vegas where a man shot at and killed many people from a hotel window during a concert. If you are advertising MGM Casinos, it doesn’t help your persuasive message to come to Vegas if your ad appears on a news article about the shooting.
So, MGM Casinos, for example, has the ability to exclude advertising on news pages that include keywords for that event.
Another example of how brand safety is deployed is in relation to negative news, negative financial news, general terrorism, and bikinis.
It’s possible to block whole categories of content for the advertiser. A bank whose values dictate that their ads shouldn’t be see negative financial news can block ads on that category.
A clean eating brand, for example, whose primary value proposition is eating healthy, may want to run ads on pages where there’s a woman in a bikini, such as on TMZ.
There are an infinite way of setting up these tools for brand safety. A brand can align exclude mention of people.
A common brand safety targeting protocol that is happening 2020 is excluding advertising on pages about Coronavirus.
In fact, Business Insider reports that, not surprisingly, there is a spike of consumer attention on pages about Coronavirus news.
You might think that this larger audience makes for a great opportunity to earn more revenue by publishers.
In fact, that opposite is true. Many advertisers are blocking keywords related to Coronavirus for a number of good reasons including: they just don’t want to be part of the inherently political elements of the conversation, the Coronavirus coverage is in direct opposition to what they brand is selling, and some brands just don’t want to be surrounded by bad news.