In the ever-evolving digital landscape, advertisers need comprehensive, independent measurement across social media platforms more than ever before. Here, we will delve into two key measurement types on social media: brand safety and brand suitability. These elements are vital for businesses to maintain brand reputation, foster consumer trust and strengthen campaign effectiveness on social channels.

Brand Safety vs. Brand Suitability: What’s the Difference? 

Brand safety is a critical aspect of digital advertising that helps brands avoid placing ads alongside universally harmful or inappropriate content, such as extreme violence, hate speech, or explicit adult content. 

Brand suitability aims to align ads with content that resonates with a brand’s values and appeals to its intended audience. It helps marketers go a step above brand safety and find the right context for their ads, which will enhance their brand’s message and image. For example, a cocktail recipe blog might be suitable content for a tech company but not for a family-friendly consumer packaged goods company. 

With the rise in user-generated content on social media platforms, it’s more important than ever that brands employ brand suitability strategies and tools that help them avoid unsuitable environments. DV’s categories go beyond what is offered by native platform controls, including commonly requested categories such as Kids and Vehicle Disasters, to provide brands with maximum transparency into where their ad campaigns are running and ensure alignment with content that supports their brand values.

Simply put, brand safety protects against the most egregious forms of inappropriate content, while brand suitability enables a brand to align with its specific identity, values and campaign performance goals. Think of brand safety as a foundational aspect of media quality that eliminates content that the industry deems to be non-monetizable. Brand suitability is what is built on top of brand safety and is particular to each client. The content one client determines is not suitable for a specific brand or campaign, may align with the campaign values and goals of another brand.  

Measuring Brand Safety and Suitability on Social Media 

DV’s approach to brand safety and suitability on social platforms includes pre- and post-bid solutions. 

  • Pre-screen protection evaluates content and channels before impressions are transacted to support the delivery of impressions to appropriate environments
  • Post-bid measurement analyzes content after impressions are purchased, providing advertisers and agencies with insight into safe and suitable ad delivery and ad performance. 

Implementing a comprehensive pre- and post-bid measurement strategy offers significant value to advertisers. Pre-screen controls help to deliver ads in suitable, engaging environments, protecting brand reputation, maximizing ad spend and supporting publisher and platform monetization. Post-bid measurement helps marketers analyze ad performance, producing data that can be used to optimize future campaigns and media investment decisions across channels. DV encourages advertisers to advocate with social platforms to enable pre-screen controls across all environments.

DV’s Social Content and Ad Format Coverage

It’s important to note that DV’s reported brand safety and suitability rates on social media are specific to the ads, content and formats that we analyze for our clients. These rates do not represent the overall safety of all content across a social media platform. For instance, if we report a platform has a 99% brand safety rate, it does not mean that 99% of all content on the platform is safe for brands. Instead, it indicates that 99% of the specific content we analyzed for our clients was safe. This rate also takes into account any pre-bid filters a brand may have activated through the platform itself or via a third-party verification provider. Some clients and partners activate pre-bid controls, while others engage with DV solely for post-bid data, which all clients receive via DV Pinnacle®, our reporting and activation platform.

Additionally, each ad format that DV measures and evaluates requires dedicated technical resources, as supported formats can vary across platforms. We understand the value of providing brand safety and suitability coverage across all channels, and we aim to expand partnerships in order to provide both pre- and post-bid measurement for each social media platform. As new formats debut, we will work continuously to deepen our integration and coverage within these platforms. 

Maximizing Social Media Protection and Performance

Brand safety and suitability tools help brands navigate the vast and diverse landscape of social media, ensuring their messages reach audiences within environments deemed safe and suitable for their brand. Ultimately, comprehensive brand safety and suitability solutions across social media platforms and the open web offer advertisers a complete view of media quality and performance while helping them navigate and optimize campaign cross-channel media investment strategies more effectively.

This piece is part of DoubleVerify’s newly launched Transparency Center, a dedicated portal designed to educate the industry about DV technology and measurement. By providing detailed explanations, insights and timely statements on key issues, we aim to foster trust and transparency within the digital advertising ecosystem.