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Brand Safety Brand Suitability Deep Learning

Why brand safety is the keystone for brand suitability

RTB House


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June 22, 2022 | 6 min read

In modern digital advertising, brands need to take care of where their ads appear

According to AdColony’s 2020 Brand Safety Survey, 56% of respondents said that ads appearing alongside undesirable content negatively impact how they view the advertising brand, with 37% saying that it negatively impacts their purchasing decisions. That’s why controlling the environment where ads are placed is important and should go beyond avoiding content usually considered brand unsafe.

What is brand safety?

Due to the ever-increasing amount of time people spend browsing the web and the number of ads and content placements alongside inappropriate content, brand safety is an important topic. Brands need to stay on top of available and emerging technologies to ensure they are not missing out on any opportunities as new tech vendors improve targeting and measurement capabilities.

As an essential principle of advertising, the goal of brand safety is to protect brands from potentially negative environments.

Although brand safety is a fluid concept and should be crafted with a clear vision of brand identity and appropriate safeguards, it is not something that brands can compromise. However, they can use more precise blocking mechanisms, a scalpel approach instead of an axe approach. While both approaches will work, the precision of the scalpel approach won't limit scale that much.

What is brand suitability?

Brand suitability is a fundamental strategy for digital advertising. It is an approach that helps advertisers balance the risk of brand safety with the campaign's reach. Regardless of the content, it should strive to create a safe environment for a brand's target audience alongside appropriate content.

Essentially, it can be defined as a set of guidelines that determine where to place your ads based on how well the content aligns with the brand in question. By using contextual tools, you can avoid placements next to irrelevant content and also identify the places online where your ads can be most effective.

The Integral Ad Science’s ‘The Ripple Effect 2.0’ report in 2020 set out to understand how brands are perceived in relation to the environment where their ads are run. They discovered that in terms of ad quality, 81% of consumers consider it important that ads are placed in high-quality environments, with 51% being more likely to engage with these ads. If an ad is placed next to low-quality content, 45% of consumers would feel less favorable toward that brand.

Therefore, brand suitability should be discussed to ensure that advertising budgets are not wasted on low-quality impressions. Brands, marketers, and ad agencies should think about:

  • The audience they are trying to reach
  • Brand values and what content doesn’t make sense and should be avoided, if possible
  • Content and categories that are suitable and what are not
  • Tailoring strategy to the specific market, taking into account language and cultural nuances
  • Applicable law, to avoid any potential legal issues with certain content

However, as the number of media companies grows, the challenge becomes how to measure suitability while maintaining a high level of precision. While there are many ways to determine suitability, a common practice is to measure at the content category level.

How brand suitability emerged from brand safety

Historically, brand safety has centered on the marketer’s need to prevent ads from appearing next to content deemed inappropriate for the target audience. These tactics now seem outdated and inflexible, lacking the level of control needed to build and maintain successful online businesses.

Currently, the major challenge for brand safety is the consideration of context and audience, both of which are essential for determining brand suitability which requires more nuance.

For any advertising campaign, brand suitability is vital for success as it focuses on the context of advertising and its impact on the brand. Additionally, brand suitability can also help identify which areas appeal to the targeted audience.

It can therefore be seen as the next evolutionary step for brand safety. While brand safety is more about avoiding or removing the most dangerous and damaging content, brand suitability is the process of minimizing the risk of a brand appearing in an inappropriate environment so brands can maintain their reputation. However, some brands are also adjusting and using traditionally unsafe pages for advertising by tailoring the message.

Brand suitability and brand safety as a fluid concept

As consumers become more sophisticated, marketers and agencies must adapt and adopt brand safety and suitability best practices.

In alignment with the media targeting strategy, brand safety should not be static but instead, be flexible and evolve over time to assess emerging events and news cycles independently and determine which content is acceptable or inappropriate for a brand so that ads only appear on websites and apps that will be of benefit.

That’s why brand safety tools that allow you to control and include or exclude ad placements are very important for maintaining a positive and appropriate brand image.

Unfortunately, some brand safety tools have a one-size-fits-all approach. Not enough attention is paid to a brand's individuality or the context of words or images that appear in an ad, making it difficult to determine what ad is appropriate. These programs can reduce the reach of campaigns and lead to increased costs and poor brand performance.


With so much different content on the internet, brands need to take steps to protect their image like never before and plan how to create it wisely.

When looking for brand safety tools, it’s vital to use solutions that are:

  • Flexible and go beyond standard non-safe content
  • Precise and help maintain the scale of campaigns

It’s also important to find a partner who can support your individual needs and ensure brand suitability, as standard brand safety taxonomies are not enough to make brands successful on the open web.

RTB House

Brand safety tools need to be all-round effective solutions that integrate with the entire tech stack and use the newest and constantly developed technology to manage where ads are displayed and influence brand suitability.

You can't put a price tag on brand safety. It's a fundamental feature of any advertising campaign, not just a nice-to-have extra. RTB House’s Brand Safety solution is a standard component in all our offerings, giving brands unparalleled control over their client’s brand safety.

To discover how you can benefit from our expertise and how our Brand Safety Solution can help your brand maintain a positive image, contact RTB House today.

Brand Safety Brand Suitability Deep Learning


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