April 20, 2023

Brand Safety 101

As you grow your brand, you’re probably laser-focused on how to get more eyes on the amazing content you create. The last thing you’re worried about is getting too much attention. 

But we’ve all seen brands find themselves in the middle of an online firestorm, and it’s often due to preventable problems or brand safety concerns like cyberattacks, imposter accounts, or associations with problematic content. 

To protect your brand, you need to plan ahead. That’s where brand safety comes in. Brand safety is all about shielding your brand from risks on every social platform by putting policies in place before problems arise. 

Below, we’ve laid out everything you need to know about brand safety, including top risks to be aware of and best practices to safeguard your brand’s reputation.

What is Brand Safety?

Brand safety means protecting your brand from harm to its reputation, especially in the context of digital advertising and risks associated with an online ad campaign.1 Remember that ensuring brand safety is important—any form of negative brand associations can quickly lead customers to lose trust in a business, leading to loss of revenue, and a damaged reputation.

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Key Concepts of Brand Safety

There are several key factors that creators should keep in mind when it comes to brand safety. These include:

  • Proactively identifying and responding to potential brand threats
  • Monitoring online reputation risks
  • Protecting against third-party risks
  • Being mindful of ad placement risks

Let’s explore these risks more below.

Risks to Brand Safety

Listed below are the three most common types of risk factors you should watch out for:

  • Online Reputation Risks, which can include:
    • Employees posting, liking, or sharing offensive content from company accounts
    • Negative reviews
    • Inappropriate content or comments
    • Negative media coverage
  • Third-Party Risks, which can include:
    • Relationships with influencers or spokespersons with problematic conduct or associations
    • Fake accounts posing as a representative of the brand 
    • Cyberattacks, in which a brand’s website or social accounts are hacked for the purpose of posting harmful content or stealing data
  • Ad Placement Risks, as brands can sustain damage to their reputation when audiences see their ads alongside content that contains:2
    • Violence
    • Hate speech 
    • Misleading “fake news”
    • Pornography
    • Illegal activities
    • Drug use

Brand Safety Strategies

Remember that every brand safety strategy includes taking proactive measures to mitigate risks and respond to threats. Whether your brand represents a Fortune 500 company or you as a solo content creator, here are three key strategies to protect your reputation: 

#1. Create Brand Safety Policies

Having formal brand safety guidelines and policies in place helps your team address potential threats quickly and effectively. These policies should cover:

  • Roles and responsibilities of team members in maintaining brand safety
  • Clear guidelines for ad placement, including prohibited content and categories
  • Procedures for ad verification and monitoring
  • Third-party risk management procedures, including how to vet partners and contractors 
  • Guidelines for social media usage by employees and the types of content that are acceptable to post on behalf of the company
  • Clear consequences for any violations of the brand safety policy
  • A timeline for regularly reviewing and updating the policy 

#2. Perform Ad Verification and Monitoring

When customers see offensive content, it doesn’t just impact their opinion of that particular content. It also hurts their opinion of the brands that advertise alongside it. For example: 

  • A 2021 study of over 1,000 adults found that almost 80% of consumers felt that brands should be concerned with their ads appearing next to inappropriate content online.3 
  • Almost 50% of people perceive advertisers or marketers more negatively when their ads appear with offensive content.4

It’s critical to monitor ad placements regularly to ensure they’re in line with your brand. Third-party verification tools not only ensure that your ads are placed in appropriate contexts, but also that real people are seeing them to make your ad buy worthwhile.2

#3. Prepare for Crisis Management

No matter how much you plan, threats to your brand safety can still happen. When they do, it’s imperative to have a crisis management plan in place that outlines:

  • Immediate steps when a threat is identified
  • Who is responsible for responding to the threat
  • Who is responsible for communicating with stakeholders to address their concerns 

Brand Safety Best Practices

In addition to these strategies, there are several best practices that can help you stay ahead of potential risks:

  • Collaborate with trusted partners – Whether it’s a digital advertising platform or an internet influencer, working with reputable partners helps ensure that your ads are placed in a brand safe environment. Carefully vet any partners you work with, and prioritize those who have a strong reputation for brand safety.
  • Continuously monitor and adjust – Brand safety risks can change rapidly, so businesses need to have proper content moderation tools in place to continuously monitor their ad placements and social media channels to identify any potential threats or harmful content. Be ready to adjust your strategies as needed to address new or emerging risks.
  • Educate and train your team – It’s vital that all of your team members understand their part in representing your brand’s image appropriately online to help prevent any misinformation, especially for staff who are responsible for posting on social media.

 Training should be provided to everyone from executives to frontline employees. Education on brand safety can also include social media training and regular updates on industry standards as well as brand safety guidelines and procedures. 

Safeguard Your Brand While You Grow with Curastory

Today’s consumers are more concerned than ever with harmful content online—and they want businesses and brands to be accountable for the content they support. This means brand safety should be a top priority for both the advertiser and creator.  

That’s why Curastory offers a comprehensive suite of tools and support to assist you with growing your online presence while staying aligned with your brand’s values. 

With Curastory’s features for advertisers, you can gain insight into your target audience’s preferences, track ad revenue and performance, and rest assured that your ads are placed with content that fits your brand. If you’re a content creator, Curastory can monetize your work quickly and easily, so that you can focus on generating compelling ideas for social media content creationwithout stressing about connecting with sponsors. Plus, under our terms of service, claim filing is available for all brand ads. 

Reach out to us today to learn more about how Curastory’s content creation platform can help ensure your brand’s safety and success.


  1. Interactive Advertising Bureau. Understanding brand safety & brand suitability in a contemporary media landscape. https://www.iab.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/IAB_Brand_Safety_and_Suitability_Guide_2020-12.pdf 
  2. Integral Ad Science. What makes a successful ad verification strategy? https://integralads.com/apac/insider/what-makes-a-successful-ad-verification-strategy
  3. Statista. Consumer perception of brand safety in the U.S. 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1273758/brand-safety-ad-adjacency-usa/ 
  4. Digital Turbine. 2019 update: How does brand safety impact consumer perception? https://www.digitalturbine.com/blog/consumer-research/2019-update-how-does-brand-safety-impact-consumer-perception/ 

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Referrals are a significant part of a creator’s growth journey, and at Curastory, we are all about empowering and enabling creators to grow as much as they allow themselves to.
Referrals are a significant part of a creator’s growth journey, and at Curastory, we are all about empowering and enabling creators to grow as much as they allow themselves to.