You’ve spent countless dollars and hours building your brand, the last thing you want to do is have your reputation damaged due to an ad posted in an inappropriate location. 

That, in short, is why you need to prioritize brand safety. When you’re proactive about protecting the image and reputation of your brand, you’re not only avoiding potentially costly slip-ups, but you’re also strengthening your connections with consumers.

Don’t leave brand safety to chance. Read on to learn more about brand safety and suitability along with the measures you can take to safeguard your image.


With the right understanding of digital marketing, brand safety can be as simple as it sounds. As Amazon explains, “Brand safety in digital advertising is about protecting your brand’s reputation when you advertise.” It’s all about preventing your ads from appearing on inappropriate websites or alongside offensive content. Essentially, brand safety looks at the bigger picture of advertising. Even if your ads are stellar and on brand, if they’re placed on an unsuitable website it can sully your brand’s reputation and consumer opinion. Similarly, it also helps your organization avoid ad fraud (more on this later). Brand safety can be simple when you don’t get bogged down in the details.

A is for Advertising

Brands should always have brand safety guidelines that apply to their advertising. Not only should it outline what counts for a branded ad, but also where these ads should and shouldn’t be placed. By avoiding these unsavory websites, you’re protecting your brand and also ensuring your ads aren’t producing fraudulent clicks.

Brand safety should be a priority for mobile and desktop advertising.

B is for Brand Reputation

Like we said, brand safety is about safeguarding your brand reputation. Your brand is your organization’s most valuable asset. Chances are you’ve spent years and countless dollars refining your image to capture consumer attention, and now it’s time to keep your brand safe.

C is for Content

You don’t want your ads appearing alongside inappropriate content. Again, even if your message is relevant to your brand and the consumers you are reaching, if it’s on a site with offensive content it can leave a negative impression Not only do you need to ensure your ads are showing up on contextually relevant sites, but it is even more critical that other content on those sites meets your brand safety standards.

Brand Safety vs Brand Suitability

Brand safety and brand suitability go hand in hand. Brand safety is about avoiding unsafe advertising environments. It’s often used as a blanket term since many marketers can agree on what constitutes an unsafe environment. On the other hand, brand suitability is more nuanced and tailored to your brand.

As Oracle explains, brand suitability picks up where brand safety too often stops. Many brand safety measures center around blocking unsafe publishers from placing a bid on your ads, but that doesn’t mean all safe websites are actually suitable for your brand or audience.

In other words, brand suitability brings context to your ads. It’s about displaying your content in the right environment to the right audience so your ads can appeal to users on a deeper level.


You’re a business that sells healthy lifestyle wearables. Being health conscious and fitness oriented is an important part of your brand identity, so as part of your brand suitability guidelines you would never want your ads to appear on websites promoting smoking, excessive consumption, or alcohol abuse (there’s more of these than you think!).  Maybe you’d even go as far as only allowing your ads to appear on sites where other health-minded content also appears. 

For other brands, having their ads run on a smoking website could make sense (and even be beneficial). But for a healthy lifestyle brand, it could hurt your reputation.

In short, brand suitability takes brand safety to a more personal level. Without it, your ads could be simultaneously putting your image at risk and missing out on the best opportunities to appeal to your specific audience.

What Does Brand Safety Mean to You?

As you can see, brand safety can be an overarching term while brand suitability is tailored to your identity and values. Both advertisers and publishers should prioritize brand safety to protect themselves. 

Brand Safety for Advertisers

Advertisers and agencies should be proactive about protecting their brand identity. Like much of what we’ve already discussed, they can take measures to block unsafe publishers from their bidding lists and may have URL ad keyword blocklists.

Brand Safety for Publishers

While much of the emphasis on brand safety is for advertisers, publishers can also benefit from brand safety solutions. By only allowing quality, contextually relevant ads on their website, publishers bolster their brand and reduce potential risks like ad fraud and bot traffic. 

Enhance Your Brand Safety Guidelines

So, how do you protect your brand and avoid ad fraud? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to brand safety, especially when it comes to determining which sites are suitable for your brand. Of course, there are some steps you can take to protect your image and avoid ad fraud.

As we touched upon, blocking certain URLs and negative/positive keywording are some tactics brands can use to safeguard where their ads appear. But this isn’t an airtight solution.

Let’s explore some of the other ways you can safeguard your brand.

Best Brand Safety Solutions

Technology has been a double-edged sword when it comes to brand safety. In some ways, it’s made it easier for advertisers to block inventory. However, it has also complicated things for marketers. Certain digital marketing solutions give advertisers a false sense of security and control. Here are a handful of the best brand safety solutions and how to wield them to your advantage.


Publisher Direct advertising, where advertisers work directly with the sites their ads will run on, took a backseat to Programmatic advertising for some time. The latter promised speed and flexibility, where going publisher direct had been somewhat cumbersome. 

As programmatic advertising has been shown to be rife with fraud and brand safety concerns, the pendulum is swinging back towards publisher direct. The experts at Forbes explain that ad fraud is common for programmatic advertising, often requiring expensive 3rd party tools to mitigate. In some cases, bad actors are able to use loopholes to pose as reputable buyers and sellers to create false clicks and impressions. This is a major problem, as Forbes highlights how recent reports show 39% of internet traffic comes from bad bots. 

Since the early days, programmatic advertising has had problems guaranteeing that advertisers’ content won’t be placed next to hate speech or inappropriate material.  Unfortunately, those problems have only persisted.

Publisher direct advertising, on the other hand, puts more control in the hands of advertisers than anything else - not to mention vastly reducing the impact of fraudulent traffic. In this model, advertisers chose the sites and the content their ads appear next to. With the rise of private publisher direct networks, the speed of publisher direct now rivals that of programmatic - without all the fraud. 

Investing in publisher direct advertising is an investment in brand safety and suitability.


As we’ve always said: If content is king, context is queen. You can’t have one without the other! 

Context is undoubtedly important for getting your ads noticed, but it’s also an important brand safety tool. It’s not just about ensuring your content is placed in the right environments but also keeping it away from unsavory content that could negatively impact your brand image.

As Amazon points out, the challenge of contextual targeting is achieving it in real time. The sheer amount of content out there can be difficult to grasp, and as mentioned, simply blocking certain URLs and keywords can actually make you miss out on opportunities to reach new audiences.

The solution is contextual intelligence. Essentially, this combines contextual targeting as you know it with the core ideas of brand suitability. It’s all about finding sites that are not only safe overall, but also relevant to your target audience and potential consumers. You can filter out sites with content that doesn’t meet your brand safety guidelines and find new opportunities you may have previously overlooked.

Contextual intelligence empowers marketers to take what they know about their audiences and utilize it to safeguard their brand. By not just looking at websites and keywords, but rather the bigger picture of a site’s audience and additional factors like site sections, vertical-specific content, etc. you can ensure your ads are relevant and complement the user experience.


Of course, we can’t forget one of the most important brand safety tools: reporting. Without tracking your brand safety efforts, you don’t have any idea if your strategy is working until it’s too late.

Too often, marketers are left flying blind and have very little insight into where their ads are actually running. This especially rings true for brands that are overly-reliant on open market programmatic. 

As noted, ad fraud continues to be a thorn in the side of the open market. When marketers are too focused on reach and scale versus quality, they can get sucked into believing their campaign is a success. Whereas in reality, much of their ad spend and impressions could be going towards fraudulent and made-for advertising sites or otherwise low quality publishers and inventory. 

Instead, make sure to prioritize fully transparent site-level reporting when evaluating advertising platforms and partners. 

Going above and beyond the industry standard, MOBKOI offers full site-list transparency and granular performance reporting to all clients.

What Brand Safety Means at MOBKOI

At MOBKOI, brand safety is a part of our DNA and the reason we built the world’s best publisher direct network. Our focus on brand solutions gives utmost importance to the image and reputation that brands like yours have diligently built. It’s a part of everything we do rather than an afterthought.

Choosing a trustworthy, transparent mobile ad partner is yet another way to safeguard your brand. That’s why we prioritize brand safety from the first step. It starts with investing time into comprehending your brand strategy and the publisher sites frequented by your target audience. With your brand identity in mind, we have a deeper understanding of your brand suitability guidelines as well.

All of this helps us develop impactful ad campaigns that capture consumer attention while bolstering your brand. From start to finish, we offer transparency into where your ads will run to ensure they meet your brand safety guidelines without missing untapped opportunities. 

Our network of premium publishers ensures brand safety and contextual relevance for all your campaigns and nothing less.

Learn more about how MOBKOI can help elevate your brand safety and suitability.