How to keep your brand safe in a deluge of disinformation

September 29, 2022

Ads from major brands regularly appear on sites alongside false news and misinformation - and it continues to pose a real threat to brand reputation.

How to keep your brand safe in a deluge of disinformation

Disinformation is a big business. 

Clare Melford, co-founder of the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), estimates that more than $235 million dollars in advertising spend flows to disinformation sites every year.

New hoax sites crop up every day, and blacklisted sites often rebrand and pop up again. While brand safety categories like hate speech or pornography are relatively easy for AI to detect, misinformation and disinformation is harder to spot. 

Even the very best professional news sites — who are diligent about fact-checking — can make mistakes.

The resulting deluge of disinformation isn’t just bad for society. It can directly damage your brand. According to the IAB, 82% of consumers say it matters to them that a brand’s ads appear next to content that is safe, accurate and trustworthy. More than half of consumers are less likely to buy from a brand whose ads appear next to fake news.  

Advertisers often don’t realize they are funding misinformation until it’s too late: once negative press coverage starts about a mistake it takes time for the brand to recover. 

Brand safety is so important that the biggest Fortune 500 advertisers take it very seriously. In 2020 P&G decided to take a closer look at its media plan to avoid advertising near "hateful, denigrating or discriminatory" content. Unilever took the extraordinary step of briefly blacklisting Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter entirely.

Brand safety technology has improved

While brand safety and contextual targeting solutions tend to look alike on the surface, what matters is the technology under the hood. 

Today marketers can leverage advanced tools like Semasio (a Fyllo company) to take a smarter, more surgical approach using semantic targeting. 

Where legacy brand safety solutions often still rely on pre-categorization to understand the content on a web page, Semasio leverages a Semantic Approach using Natural Language Processing (NLP). 

What does that mean in English? It means the technology is able to analyze the meaning of the entire page, identifying its most significant terms  and phrases.

Semasio’s partnership with NewsGuard means brands can now enable pre-bid suppression of ad placements on sites NewsGuard has flagged for publishing misinformation. Alternatively, NewsGuard’s inclusion lists can be leveraged to ensure your ads only run on sites free of misinformation.

In short, we can help ensure that responsible, brand-safe publishers receive your ad dollars and bad actors don’t.

If that sounds good, it is. But that’s just the beginning of how advertisers are using Semasio.

Taking brand safety to the next level

Misinformation isn’t the only thing that might be bad for your brand. Obviously, it’s bad for a beach vacation package to be advertised next to news of a shark attack. But some of the smartest ways you can use Semasio are less obvious. 

For example, imagine a fast food chain launching a new triple-patty burger. Topics like “vegetarianism”, “veganism” or “the CO2 footprint of beef production” won’t resonate well with an ad campaign for that product.

Semasio can refine things further, identifying terms and phrases to add and exclude and continuously updated pages that should be blacklisted. 

For more information and/or to arrange a demo, click here.

Healthy brands start with Semasio and Fyllo.

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