Posted by & filed under Google Ads Tips.

We have been discussing about the evolving digital space which offers opportunities to connect with a wide spectrum of audience. But with this evolution comes a downside, which is the risk of losing brand authenticity by getting positioned alongside offensive content or showing your ad on brand-unsafe inventory.

What is Brand Safety?

brand safety


As per IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) brand safety is to ensure that your brand doesn’t advertise on inappropriate websites and along content deemed as ‘Toxic’. Primarily this applies to Display Ads, which is more prone to getting placed on websites that can tarnish the brand’s image. However, recently Google raised the bar of their ad policies for YouTube as well when Google came under fire after advertisers pulled out from their platform.


Toxic content are the terms that fall under the following categories:

  • Hate Speech
  • Arms & Military Conflict
  • Drugs, Tobacco, Alcohol
  • Terrorism
  • Adult Content & Obscenity
  • Crime, Death or Injury
  • Spam, Harmful Sites
  • Online Piracy


What are the measures to ensure Brand Safety


1. Creating list of whitelisted and blacklisted websites

Identifying the websites that are offensive in nature while simultaneously shortlisting the sites where you would want to place your ads. The blacklisted websites can be excluded from the targeting so that your ad doesn’t get placed there.


2. Excluding Toxic content

It is a wiser option to exclude your ad from getting triggered for toxic content or get placed at sites that holds content that fall under the toxic content categories. You can exclude your ad from showing or getting placed alongside inappropriate content with the help of Negative Keywords.



Brand Safety in Search Campaigns


Controlling the ad placement in Display Campaign is crucial as the network of websites or the content alongside where your ad shows is huge. One may think that Search Campaign in such a scenario is less prone to brand safety hazards. But for search campaigns too you would not want your ad to appear for illegitimate content that come under the Toxic Content categories described above.


A brad safe search campaign can be created by:

  • Adding the common terms that are offensive in nature, as negative keywords
  • Regularly revisiting the search terms report to check for any term that you deem as inappropriate.


To begin with, lets give you an overview of some of the inappropriate terms that can be added as negative keywords:

  • Adult content – call girls, woman escorts, adult videos, x-rated
  • Crime, death or injury – killing videos, assassination,
  • Terrorism – extremism, homegrown terrorism, suicide attacks
  • Hate Speech –  hate crime, racism, female genocide
  • Online Piracy – torrent, rapidshare, bittorrent, hack
  • Arms & Military Conflict – chemical weapon, weapons guide
  • Drugs, Tobacco, Alcohol – illegal drugs, cocaine, chewing tobacco


To identify more terms that you would want to block, you can refer to either of these Google Sites for more insights:


You can also signup for our Negative Keywords Tool that analyzes the search terms from your account and suggests keywords inappropriate or irrelevant for your business. Now, this tool is Free for accounts with ad spend less than $10,000 per month. Save 10-20% of your search ad spend for free.


Note: Brand Safety is a crucial task to undertake. Your brand’s reputation can be at stake as a result of what content it is being linked to. So, safeguard your brand and ensure to follow the brand safety guidelines to build a positive brand reputation.


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