5 Best Practices for Contextual Brand Safety in Video Advertising

It’s no secret that online advertising standards and practices are continually growing and changing. Unless you keep up with industry trends, each change creates the possibility of your brand or business misstepping. Ultimately, if your advertisement appears in or before a distasteful video, your brand and reputation are at risk.

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As we continue our discussion on the three pillars of brand safety, contextual safety is at the top. We have gathered together our top 5 contextual practices when it comes to keeping your brand safe and away from video content that could cost your brand its reputation.

1. Define your hard limits.

If content is king, then context is queen. When deploying a strategy for contextual brand safety, it is essential to determine what standards you want to hold your brand.

For example, if your advertisements have to do with plant-based food, chances are you don’t want to appear on a website about the carnivore diet or Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures. While this might not be entirely detrimental for your brand, it would be one of your limits or rules that you place within your advertising rulebook to manage your brand safety.

2. Take Precautions.

Your second step (the hardest one), after you determine what you want to safeguard against, will be to take the proper precautions. You’ll want to make sure to create a list of keywords and websites that you wish to both avoid and another list for those words and phrases to include for programmatic advertisements. Keep in mind though — that the longer the blacklist doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re well protected.

You’ll also want to create a backup plan in case things still go south. As advertising “interest buckets” get more focused, it can seem as if your brand is protected and safe, but within those buckets, unwanted sites and content can still squeeze through. Create a public relations plan should your brand be cast in undesirable limelight for your advertising placements.

Take precautionary measures by setting aside regular time to monitor your metrics, most notably, your advertising sites. You can often find which sites are undesirable by scanning your performance. If you look at change over time, you may also notice if a site may have irregular views or bot-activity. To bypass these instances, you can think about switching up your strategy.

3. Switch up your strategy.

To practice good contextual safety, it would make sense to make the switch to contextual advertising. This growing trend has been hard because of the sheer volume of content to sift through. However, as a result of GDPR and cookies being phased out in many browsers, behavioral targeting will need to be abandoned in some form with contextual being the only answer.

Technology is often the biggest limiter of scale here. For example, some news articles or videos get excluded from serving ads on by certain businesses, because they have excluded News on their blacklists. However, not all news videos are bad videos and some lend themselves to really great advertising.

This news video would be a great time/place to serve an ad for dog food, toys, or obedience classes — but if Fox News or News, in general, is blocked, you could be missing out!

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Contextual advertising has worked for search engine marketing for years but has traditionally been lacking in video advertising. Recently, CatapultX has made strides towards addressing this dilemma at scale by utilizing AI to scan and categorize massive amounts of content. It can build a map of each video in order to determine when the best time to serve a specific ad when it is most relevant within a video.

4. Have plenty of creative options

Flexibility is the key to productive contextual advertising. If you approach your creative modularly, your ad inventory can be mixed and matched easily from opportunity to opportunity. Currently, most ad agency creative shops create three or four different ad types, create a few basic banner options, and publish.

With contextual advertising, generic ads would possibly only work for top-of-the-funnel branding. The beauty of contextualism is knowing “what” the viewer is watching, which affords the advertiser the opportunity to be a part of the “story” dynamically. To buy an ad and leave this opportunity in lieu of generic branding seems to be a waste.

Plus, the creation of ads for contextual ads is dynamic. You just enter in various forms of your logo, copy, and maybe an image. Then, the DSP can generate the best form of your ad to serve.

5. Be confident in your provider.

While some brands are willing to pay almost anything to avoid reputational risk, we don’t think they should have to. If you’re looking to switch to contextual advertising (which is safer and generates better results), you shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Some programmatic vendors are charging extra for brand-safety. They charge the advertiser by CPM extra to only show up on content which is labeled “premium inventory.” In an article on AdExchange, Scott Hagedorn, CEO of OmniCom’s Hearts and Sciences stated that if you compare the cost of more premium publisher placement to contextual advertising, the premium environment will probably cost twice as much.

At CatapultX, we’re looking to create a world where brands can advertise safely and effectively while the publishers can build trust from their users for creating a quality ad experience that doesn’t interrupt their content.

The Next Steps For Brand Safety

Blacklisting sites and keywords are not enough, it is only the beginning of deploying a good contextual safety strategy. If your ad is popping up right when something “bad” (to your brand) is about to happen, you may get associated with that moment. With CatapultX’s advanced AI analysis at scale, we ensure that when running video advertising, your ad will not just pop up someplace that is “nice”, but when the video is currently discussing your brand, industry or associated terms. Learn more about CatapultX’s results for both publishers and advertisers.

As we continue to deep dive into the 3 Pillars of Brand Safety, we’ll be discussing Brand Image safety next week. If you’re interested in learning more about how contextual advertising can work for your brand, drop us a line.

Founded in 2019, CatapultX is an AI-based platform at the forefront of innovative video marketing. Serving contextually relevant video ads that don’t interfere with consumer experience, CatapultX brings a profitable, engaging and enjoyable experience to publishers, advertisers and audiences. If you are interested in expanding the profitability of your content or building a more robust advertising portfolio, reach out to us at info@catapultx.com or set up a meeting with someone from our sales team.

CatapultX is creating a way for companies to advertise effectively WITHOUT making audiences angry. Visit us at CatapultX.com

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