Brand safety is more than just a hot topic in today’s display advertising industry. It’s the crucial challenge brands need to overcome.

There’s vague understanding of what brand safety is and what it means.

The most common definition of brand safety is as follows: the set of measures that aim to protect the brand’s image from the negative or harmful influence of inappropriate or questionable content on the publisher’s site where the ad impressions are served

Common content that automatically falls under the category of inappropriate is violence, nudity, profanity, and salacious headlines to mention a few. But overall, anything the general media deems improper could fall under the same classification.

One memorable event caused advertisers’ interest in brand safety to peak enormously…

The big consciousness boom occurred on February 2017, when The London Times revealed that big brands were unintentionally funding terrorist groups through their online advertising campaigns on YouTube. The aftermath of such divulgence was impactful, advertising on YouTube was suspended by many and brands started to question if perhaps their own brand safety strategies needed readjustments.

But, why is brand safety so important?  A recap of current research revealed a few eye-opening takeaways:

  • Two-thirds of consumers would likely stop using a brand if they saw an ad for that company run alongside ‘false, objectionable or inflammatory content.
  • More than 80 percent of consumers said they would reduce or stop buying a product they regularly purchase if it advertised in a range of hypothetical situations involving extreme or dangerous content
  • When asked who should be responsible for ensuring ads do not run with dangerous, offensive, or inappropriate content, respondents assigned responsibility broadly, with 70 percent naming the advertiser, 68 percent of the ad agency, 61 percent the website owner, and 46 percent the technology provider.

The end goal, keep a brand’s reputation safe when advertising online to help gain the consumer’s trust. Which, is no easy task in today’s modern era of digital advertising. Currently, most advertising is performed around user-generated content which is ever-growing in content, devices, channels, and data making it excessively difficult to monitor every piece of the puzzle.

In attempts to enhance brand safety, one implementation the industry has taken up is keyword blacklisting. But, even this solution is not a viable one. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • As much as 57% of safe content is getting wrongfully blocked by keyword blacklists
  • One of the most prevalent forms of blocking happens around entertainment. Two-thirds of content relating to movies and TV (65%) was flagged
  • LGBTQ content is becoming almost un-monetizable at this point, with 73% being blocked 
  • More than nine in 10 publishers (93%) claim brand safety solutions are hurting their revenues through over-blocking. 

Not only do brands lose current customers, but they also have a diminishing ability to reach new targeted audience. When brand safety is not a priority, it has devastating consequences along reputation, financial, and legal fronts.

In essence, it’s vital to set standards and establish parameters for each individual brand. To do so, an advertiser must consider what is inappropriate to them and not just what most media regards as inappropriate. What may seem an unfit or risky environment for one brand may not be the same for another.

Just as important is the need to work with platforms that provide transparent tools and insights to help advertisers truly understand their customers and make essential connections with more relevant advertising.

tribeOS is fighting the battle for brand safety in two ways:

  1. With the core components of their technology – Ad Fraud Protector, built-in ad fraud protection from bots and click farms; blockchain to publish all data for radical transparency; and Contextually Appropriate Ads People Love, the right ad, at the right time, for products and from brands marketers can actually trust.
  2. Boost awareness – tribeOS CEO, Matt Gallant, will be speaking at the eBev conference at the end of October focusing on the impact of brand safety for the digital advertising industry. 

Gallant added, tribeOS is the only display advertising platform created by marketers for marketers. As such, we understand what is lacking and urgently required in today’s ecosystem and that’s brand safety. We’ve built brand safety protocols into tribe’s DNA – the technology that powers the evolution of advertising.

Our priority now is to help brands better understand the entire scope of brand safety issues, so they can have peace of mind when running their display advertising campaigns”

Considerable work remains for brands to achieve brand safety. Education is the first step. They must understand the obstacle completely. Followed by enterprise-wide strategizing, monitoring and auditing.

Advertisers need to better evaluate the ad tech partners and service vendors they work with. Advertisers also need to accept full responsibility for their ad campaigns so the entire digital advertising ecosystem can evolve.

To learn more about what tribeOS is doing to enhance brand safety and help evolve the display advertising industry, visit