Brand safety, when applied to Digital Marketing, refers to the tools and strategies that ensure an online ad does not appear in a context that could potentially damage the advertiser’s brand. This is crucial when it comes to online ads because advertisers don’t want to pay money, potentially millions of dollars, on online ad campaigns where the ads then end up next to offensive, inappropriate, or contextually negative information that negatively impacts sales and the reputation of the brand.

For example, a bottled water company like Dasani or Aquafina wouldn’t want ads to land next to an article on plastic water bottles polluting the ocean just like a cruise line wouldn’t want their ads to appear next to an article on a cruise ship crash. Additionally, with sites like YouTube, where advertisers have little control or knowledge where each of their ads end up, brands want to guarantee their ads won’t come before content they deem offensive or inappropriate that could then be associated with their company.

Due to an increase and improvement in analytical capabilities, ad network providers are now feeling more pressure to prioritize brand safety for the advertisers they do business with.