Blog Post

Ensuring Brand Safety in Political Digital Advertising

02/13/2024 - Sierra Ducey

Throughout our three-part series to help political digital advertisers prepare for the election, we’ve explored various strategies and platforms to effectively engage with voters online. In the final installment, we’ll dive into a critical aspect (arguably, the most critical) of digital advertising: brand safety. In a landscape where credibility and integrity are paramount, it’s essential to understand the tools and techniques available to safeguard your campaign’s brand online.

Navigating Challenges in Political Digital Advertising

According to a study conducted by Integral Ad Science, approximately 73% of consumers express unfavorable sentiments toward brands associated with misinformation. Moreover, 71% of individuals encounter misleading digital content while browsing the web. These statistics underscore the critical importance of brand safety and integrity in political advertising. However, digital political campaigns face numerous challenges and risks that can compromise brand safety. These challenges include:

  • Ad Fraud: The prevalence of ad fraud poses a significant threat to digital campaigns, potentially leading to wasted ad spend and damage to brand reputation.
  • Inappropriate Content: Ads appearing alongside inappropriate or sensitive content can tarnish a campaign’s image and alienate voters.
  • Misinformation: The spread of misinformation and fake news on digital platforms can undermine trust in political messages and erode brand credibility.

In the political arena, the consequences of brand safety breaches can be particularly severe. A single instance of ad misplacement or association with inappropriate content can erode voter trust, damage campaign credibility, and undermine the effectiveness of messaging. Therefore, political advertisers must adopt proactive measures to mitigate risks and uphold brand integrity in the digital sphere.

Download our eBook, “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024,” for a comprehensive overview of the 2024 voter landscape and key channels advertisers can use to better reach voters.

4 Brand Safety Tools and Techniques for Political Advertisers 

For political advertisers, technologies that validate content, evaluate editorial credibility, vet authors, or verify media content before completing an ad buy on a website or web page are indispensable tools. Whether promoting a product or a politician, instilling and upholding trust is crucial to campaign success.

To mitigate these risks and maintain brand integrity online, political advertisers can leverage a range of tools and techniques:

1. Enlist Brand Safety Partners

Collaborate with brand safety partners and third-party verification services to monitor ad placements and ensure compliance with brand safety standards. These partners offer real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities to identify and address potential brand safety issues.

2. Utilize Blocklists and Allowlists

Implement blocklists to exclude specific websites, channels, or content categories that may be deemed unsafe or inappropriate for your campaign. Conversely, allowlists can be used to whitelist trusted publishers and environments where your ads are displayed.

3. Negatively Target Unsafe Keywords

Utilize negative keyword targeting to prevent your ads from appearing alongside content containing specific keywords or phrases that are deemed unsafe or irrelevant to your campaign. By proactively excluding these keywords, you can minimize the risk of ad misplacement and protect your brand’s reputation.

4. Consider Premium Ad Buys

Opt for premium ad placements on reputable and trustworthy publishers’ websites. While premium ad buys may come at a higher cost, they offer greater assurance of brand safety and quality placements, reducing the risk of ad fraud and inappropriate content adjacency.

Charting the Course Ahead: Implementing Brand Safety Measures in Political Digital Advertising

In conclusion, brand safety is a critical consideration for political advertisers operating in the digital space. By leveraging the tools and techniques outlined above, advertisers can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, safeguarding their campaign’s integrity and credibility.

As we conclude our series, we encourage readers to revisit our first blog post, The Shift to Screens: Capturing Voter Attention in a Digital World for a comprehensive overview of engaging today’s voters online. For further insights and strategies, we invite you to download our ebook, “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024,” to learn more about how we can continue to innovate and adapt as we navigate the digital terrain of political advertising.

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