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Doing the Safety Dance: Four Easy Ways to Keep Your Brand Safe Online

Dear marketers, ever worry that your ads online are in safe company?

YouTube just got in hot water again for, yes, running ads next to questionable content. TechCrunch just reported last week on how YouTube searches for certain content may pull up videos for soft-core pornography; others have recently questioned the vast rise of conspiracy videos on YouTube, and whether advertisers really want to be there.

We’re not judging flat-earthers themselves, who are entitled to their opinion … but a smart brand doesn’t want to look silly.

The good news is Google, owner of the platform, has announced a “three strike” rule that will lead to some bad content being taken down. This is not the first time YouTube has gotten bad buzz for allowing ads to appear on non-brand-safe content, and Google is getting tougher.

But there are other things marketers can do to keep ads safe.

+ Make certain your media agency, like Mediassociates, uses pre-bid and brand-safety filters to help insure that ads run on YouTube appear next to quality video content.

+ Also, remember, video has flown far beyond YouTube. Online video use in the U.S. is up 40% year over year, and thousands of websites now allow advertisers to embed online video in their content. Consider the vast array of programmatic video placement opportunities that can align your online video ad with specific editorial content. Not only can this block “bad stuff” next to your ad, but it can provide nuanced audience targeting.

+ If the sites you target for online ads have active communities, consider evaluating their comment sections as well to see if the “vibe” of a platform or website’s followers makes sense for your brand. If the sentiment is overly negative, or spiked with off-color comments, that’s a brand-safe consideration as well.

+ Call your agency and talk it through. The context of ad placement is an important issue, and certainly one with many nuances. A smart marketer and a watchful media agency, when collaborating on an overall strategy for quality ad placement, make the best defense against bad offense.