In the ever-evolving world of digital advertising, brand suitability has emerged as a crucial concept for advertisers, publishers, and consumers alike. With increased awareness of social issues, growing demands for transparency, and the rise of ad blockers, brands must navigate a complex landscape to ensure their advertisements are shown in appropriate contexts.
Brand suitability and brand safety are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct differences. While brand safety focuses on avoiding inappropriate or unsavory content using tactics like blocklists and keyword exclusions, brand suitability takes a more nuanced approach. It involves identifying content and sites that align well with specific brands.
When a brand chooses brand suitability over traditional brand safety methods, this allows them to identify potentially high-quality placements that can enhance ad revenue.
Instead of simply blocking entire content categories, keywords, topics, or publishers, brands can be more selective and find suitable contexts that align with their values.
This blog explores the importance of brand suitability in 2023 and beyond, highlighting the reasons why businesses must prioritize this aspect of advertising strategy.
What are Common Brand Suitability Concerns?
Advertisers often exercise caution when it comes to certain content categories on the internet, as they may not align with their brand values. The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) has identified 11 such categories that they advise brands to avoid. Here, we present six of these categories that advertisers frequently consider when aiming for brand suitability.
- Fake news: The proliferation of fake news makes it challenging for brands to identify legitimate websites for ad placements. Advertisers need to be cautious about running ads on platforms that showcase deceptive content, as it can impact consumer engagement.
- Extremist content: The rise of extremist content on the internet poses a significant concern for brands. Advertisers should actively avoid ad placements on sites that promote or share extremist ideologies to prevent inadvertently supporting radicalization.
- Hate speech: Hate speech, which targets individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or other traits, has been on the rise both online and offline. Brands must steer clear of platforms or content that propagate hate speech to avoid association with such harmful content.
- War: The ongoing conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine, require careful consideration from advertisers. Brands can choose to block ads from appearing on sites covering the war or use contextual targeting to avoid specific negative aspects such as death, injury, military conflict, and terrorism.
- Politics: Advertisers may opt for a more nuanced approach when it comes to political content. While avoiding highly polarizing political content might be preferable, brands may still find relevance in running ads on other articles related to politics, such as election updates.
- Illegal drug use: The category of illegal drug use requires careful evaluation. Advertisers need to consider the context and relevance to their brand. For instance, healthcare industry advertisers might find value in running ads alongside content related to research on psychedelic-assisted therapy, while toy retailers may not find it suitable.
By being aware of these common brand suitability concerns, advertisers can make informed decisions about where their ads are placed to protect their brand image and ensure alignment with their values.
How to Safeguard a Brand’s Reputation?
Brand reputation is a valuable asset that takes years to build but can be tarnished in an instant. In an era of viral social media trends and instant information sharing, any misstep can quickly spread and damage a brand’s image. By ensuring brand suitability, businesses can mitigate the risk of their advertisements appearing alongside harmful or inappropriate content. This proactive approach helps protect the brand’s reputation, maintain customer loyalty, and avoid potential public relations crises.
- Regulatory Compliance and Legal Considerations
Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are increasingly scrutinizing digital advertising practices to protect consumers from deceptive or harmful content. In response, various regulations have been enacted, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Adhering to these regulations requires brands to prioritize brand suitability by ensuring their ads comply with data privacy laws, avoid misleading claims, and respect user consent. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties, legal disputes, and long-term damage to a brand’s reputation.
- Ad-Blockers and Ad Avoidance
Ad-blocking software has become increasingly prevalent as consumers seek to improve their online experience by avoiding intrusive and irrelevant ads. In fact, recent studies suggest that over 30% of internet users globally utilize ad-blockers. To counter this trend, brands need to prioritize brand suitability to create advertisements that resonate with their target audience and align with their interests. By delivering relevant and engaging content in suitable environments, businesses can increase the likelihood of consumers accepting and engaging with their ads, ultimately boosting brand exposure and conversions.
Maximizing Advertising ROI by Placing Ads on Brand-Suitable Content
In an age of data-driven marketing, brands strive to optimize their return on investment (ROI) by reaching the right audience at the right time. Ensuring brand suitability is a critical factor in this equation. By utilizing advanced targeting techniques and contextual advertising, brands can place their ads in environments that are aligned with their values and resonate with their desired audience. This approach not only enhances ad performance but also minimizes wasted ad spend by avoiding placements in irrelevant or potentially damaging contexts.