Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 8 seconds

Brand safety has been a persistent concern among marketers, with a handful of large companies having pulled their content off of Facebook and other platforms to avoid inadvertently having their names associated with inappropriate content.

Just recently, the topic leaped into the spotlight with high profile organizations such as Google, Twitter and Facebook announcing that they are teaming up with other big firms to combat brand hazards. At the same time, other firms are pitching technology to combat the problem, while at least one publication is pitching the merits of advertising within videogames.

Brand safety concerns have typically focused on desktop video streaming or display ads, but a recent study has concluded that mobile phone advertising, which is a quickly growing channel, also presents hazards. The study by DoubleVerify maintains that brand safety incidents with mobile phone advertising can occur three times as frequently as with other digital advertising outlets, reports BizReport. The study also found that brand safety violations within mobile apps increased more than 190% since 2018. The danger is significant because digital advertising budgets are increasingly migrating to mobile phones.

A variety of technology solutions are being developed to combat brand risk, but many have limitations, according to an opinion piece by Gil Becker, CEO of AnyClip, in PerformanceIn. Tools, such as Natural Language Processing, can understand semantics and keywords or entire texts to spot offensive content.

Image recognition has also been good at catching most violations. The image recognition technology, however, can be expensive. Additionally, technology that seeks to spot offensive content can sometimes accidentally label benign content as troublesome. For example, an overly sensitive screening tool might label bikinis as inappropriate and produce an excessive number of false positives.

Many new initiatives are arising to fight brand safety risks. Among recent initiatives, perhaps the highest profile program was announced during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. During the event, Google, Twitter, Facebook and various well-known brands announced they have formed the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, reports TechCrunch.

Other members of the group include Adidas, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. At least in the view of TechCrunch, the organization’s plans for attacking brand risk appear vague at this point, but Facebook V.P. for Global Account Partnerships Will Platt-Higgins maintains that building an alliance of leading organizations, including media platforms, brands, and marketing agencies, is the best way get results.

Oracle and Reddit also took advantage of the Cannes Lions event to pitch their new partnership that seeks to improve brand safety, reports The Drum. The partnership involves Oracle integrating its Data Cloud technology into the Reddit platform to scan user-generated content in real time and then classify content into industry-standard brand safety categories. In pitching the new service, Reddit also emphasized that authentic conversations among its interest-based communities provide a strong value proposition for advertisers.

The Brand Safety Institute, which was launched last summer to combat risks to advertisers, is also continuing to increase its efforts. It recently launched the advertising industry’s first accreditation process for brand safety executives, reports MarTech Series. The education program can be accessed through the organization’s website. Founding members of the organization include numerous well-known companies, including Adobe, Facebook, OpenX, and Oracle Data Cloud.

One strategy for avoiding brand safety risks could be to advertise through videogames, maintains Digital Information World. With videogames, brands won’t have to worry about their names appearing alongside of inappropriate user-generated content. In addition, research shows that only 18% of consumers have experienced hateful or troublesome content within mobile videogames compared to 60% of consumers who have experienced inappropriate content on Facebook. Another study found that consumers were more likely to purchase products after seeing ads in mobile phone videogames then they were after seeing ads on Instagram.

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