What Brand Safety Is and Why You Should Care

The growth of mobile use may be prompting you to consider expanding your online marketing efforts beyond your website and conventional pay-per-click ads. Here’s what you need to know to keep your brand reputation safe no matter what device your ads appear on.

Mobile Advertising 101

Remember when mobile devices first became the “thing,” and Apple coined the phrase “There’s an app for that?” Apps are versions of proprietary web-based properties designed specifically for mobile use. In other words, they are like fully functioning websites that can be accessed without first going through the Internet. Think about it: on your mobile phone or tablet, you do not open your web browser (IE, Chrome or Safari) to check your email, your bank account or movie times. You go directly to the app. Boom! You’re there.

Because apps are independent of the Internet (you don’t have to go through a browser to use them), your Internet marketing is not appearing in them. However, apps provide another prime marketing opportunity. After all, millions of people are only using their mobile devices to access web-based content.

To get your ads to appear in mobile apps (i.e. in-app advertising), you need to go through an ad rep who works with app sponsors to secure marketing space. (Usually, this process actually entails multiple levels of reps, creating a complicated network between advertiser—you—and ad placement).

In-app advertising may be a very lucrative platform for your business, but the underdeveloped mobile advertising environment presents some challenges and risks to your business—such as brand safety.

What is Brand Safety

Simply put, brand safety refers to the safety of your brand reputation based on the context in which your ads appear. When your ads appear next to relevant, appropriate content, your brand is safe; you can expect your ads to make the impression they were intended to make because the stuff surrounding them supports your message.

Brand safety is undermined when your ads appear next to irrelevant and/or inappropriate content (sometimes called toxic content). By no fault of your own, your ads make a poor impression because viewers associate your brand with the negative headlines and/or images that appear next to it, even if there is no logical connection between your product/service and the neighboring content.

Why Brand Safety Matters

When your ad appears next to inappropriate content, increased exposure kills the ad’s performance, and with it your ROI, maybe even your brand’s reputation. Brand safety matters because your bottom line is at stake.

Currently, there are no effective filters to prevent your in-app ads from appearing next to inappropriate content (there are on conventional web pages), so maintaining brand safety is all on you (and your mobile ad rep). Until in-app filter technology more reliably prevents ads from showing up next to toxic content, you simply need to be vigilant:

  • Research the mobile advertising company you choose to make sure they have a reputation for protecting their clients’ online reputations
  • Read the fine print in mobile web advertising agreements to find out what their policies are for filtering and for rectifying unsatisfactory placement or performance
  • Check your ads on your mobile device and have your friends and family do the same

If you notice your ads posted on a page next to content that makes a questionable impression, contact your mobile ad rep immediately to start working to take the ad down.

If mobile app advertising is a marketing platform you’d like to explore, contact SonicSEO.com. We provide online marketing consultation to help you determine if in-app advertising is a sound investment for your business. We can also provide advice for choosing a mobile ad rep to make sure your business is well served.