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Brand safety in the digital space

The business market is a fiercely competitive space with different brands competing to capture audience and consumer attention. The task is to convert this attention into sales and profit margins. Sometimes it’s just for purposes of creating awareness and changing the narrative.

It is common knowledge that consumers respond to a brand or product based on need, experience, product functionality, cost, word of mouth and very importantly reputation.

It is therefore not surprising that brands are constantly on the lookout for brand safety in reputable online news publications like LNN. Hive Digital Media relies partly on (Local News Network (LNN) as a guaranteed brand safe publishing space for brands.

LNN reaches communities across the country through its 59 print and digital local newspapers spread across the country. LNN serves a diverse audience catering for different demographics who have come to trust LNN as a trustworthy and credible publishing platform. LNN is therefore a brand safe environment where brands meet audiences and consumers who trust what they read and see on it.

The importance of brand safety in modern marketing and advertising is highlighted by Hive Digital Media Premium Commercial Channel Manager Stephnie Atkinson.

“When it comes to brand safety in content or display advertising, the trust in the brand from the audience comes more from the fact that the brand is advertising in a trusted and ethical environment rather than the ‘contextual relevance’ in let’s say a news publication. Advertising next to hard news content in a trusted environment gives brands added credibility,” explained Steph.

The key factor in this regard is to leverage on established trust, transparency and loyalty. These factors cause certain demographics to patronise a particular advertising or marketing platform or to warm up to a brand based on who is associated with it.

Brand perception is therefore intricately linked to brand safety. This is because brand safety is ultimately what safeguards brand perception and sustainability. A recent research study conducted by news publisher Reach questioned people to disclose where they are likely to see bad things from a brand safety point of view. The research results showed that:

  • 73% said they expect to see unreliable content on social media, 43% on user-generated content video sites and 19% on news sites.
  • 52% said they expect to see violent content on social media, 44% on user-generated content video sites and 9% on news sites.
  • 59% said they expect to see shocking content on social media, 47% on user-generated content video sites and just 14% on news sites.

The stats above highlight the fact that audiences and brands alike are more concerned about the general content and reputation of a publishing platform than they are about what’s published or broadcast next to their brand.

Brand safety and how it impacts the above highlighted scenario

Brand safety is established on the fundamental advertising principle which demands that brand adverts or product content must not appear on platforms and spaces like websites, apps, videos and articles which are detrimental and harmful to the brand. Brands have a responsibility to take a robust and progressive moral and ethical stance which safeguards the brand but also the environments in which they operate.

When brands get associated with publishing platforms which promote what is morally and ethically misaligned to the brand ethos and values of the market in which they operate, the result is a fragmented customer loyalty and market base which becomes destructive to the brand affinity.

What are the most common brand safety threats?

Malgorithms – This simply refers to adverts where the context between a web page and display ad is misaligned. In layman’s language this is juxtaposition of brand ads with the wrong content on a broadcasting or publishing platform.

Fake news – Fake news has caught the attention of diverse audiences and remains one of the fastest ways to lose credibility and consequently harm any brand associated with it. A platform which misrepresents, misstates or conceals information becomes a danger to any brand whose revenue depends on the quality of ad placements.

Extremists’ sites – The world is not short of extremists’ groups who own publishing platforms and sometimes choose to strategically place their content on relevant platforms. A brand must never be associated with hateful, resentful, divisive and unlawful viewpoints.

Bot traffic – Bot traffic is about fraudulent clicks which mislead audiences and can cause tremendous damage to a brand. Bot traffic doesn’t just harm your brand in the short, medium and long term but also adversely affects your ROI and conversion metrics.

How can you ensure brand safety is achieved?

1.You need to find a reputable programmatic provider or agency. Hive Digital Media offers automated buying and selling of advertising which is streamlined and consolidates your digital advertising efforts in one technology platform.

2.Third party content verification is key in achieving brand safety. A publishing platform has a responsibility to check that content received does not in any way harm the interests of other brands. Hive has managed to put in place a dedicated team which writes content but also scrutinises any third-party content to ensure it’s suitable for various publishing platforms.

3.Striving for authentic audiences is an imperative brand safety measure. Hive Digital Media has access to a large network which allows this reputable digital agency to collect diverse audiences based on the publishers within the network (From Local News and Computing, to Parenting and Travel).

When an audience is created, Hive can instantly activate it and start using it. Hive can also build custom audiences based on Brands which refers to awareness, engagement, advocacy and Intent which refers to consideration, evaluation, purchase stage, etc. Using the DMP, Hive is able to collect & deliver relevant, targeted audiences across the Caxton Network of Premium News & Lifestyle focused websites. These audiences are customised to meet the specific needs of our clients with the unique campaign message in mind.

4.You must avoid blacklisted publishers. Hive Digital Media is a trusted service provider which safeguards brands because the agency adheres to Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) & Press Council standards which demand that the business is truthful, accurate and fair, with no intentional or negligent distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentations or material omissions.

5.You must consider using insights to monitor campaigns in real-time. Hive has developed this capability by using its Data Management Platform (DMP). The DMP platform helps in understanding audiences & their interests. The DMP provides insight into users & information on what tickles their interests. This means the right ad is shown to the right user.

From the points listed above, it’s clear to see that brand safety is a key cornerstone in brand development and sustainably protecting the interests of any business enterprise.

For more on placing your brand in a brand safe environment, Hive team can be contacted at info@hivedigital.media.

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DATE: Sep 22, 2021
AUTHOR: Patrick Mumbi
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