Brand Safety Drives Stronger Performance Outcomes on TV


  • Optimizing ads for brand safety leads to higher time in view, which suggests brand safe ad channels are more conducive to delivering a more complete message 
  • 57% increase in conversions for viewable and brand safe impressions compared to non-viewable and not safe
  • ‘Brand suitability’ is the new ‘brand safety’ as advertisers adapt their marketing plans to support higher quality inventory

Advertisers put brand safety top of mind, as brand risk dropped by 4% globally—and it’s paying off. 

Conversion Rate Lift For Brand Safe vs. Non Brand Safe Impressions

As brand safety issues continue to plague the advertising industry, one question remains: is one marketing channel better shielded than others? Connected TV is one of the most brand-safe channels out there, however advertisers should still heed caution when selecting CTV inventory to pair with their ads, as not all inventory is built the same. Most often than not, CTV represents top-tier, prestige streaming networks, however low-quality apps can also be grouped into available inventory. This can be concerning as an increasing percentage of CTV inventory is purchased programmatically. To help mitigate against potential issues, advertisers must seek out CTV ad solutions or streaming partners who can guarantee brand safe inventory. 

As we explore the topic of brand safety, it will become apparent why it is so important.  Not only from a brand standpoint—but from a performance one as well. To help illustrate this point, we’ll look at brand safety in the case of video and streaming ad creative, and how paying attention to this can drive favorable and measurable outcomes for advertisers. 

According to a MediaOcean survey of over 250 industry leaders across advertising agencies, media providers and tech companies, brand safety is top of mind this year. Fifty seven percent of survey respondents continued to remain vigilant, while almost two-fifths expected these concerns to increase¹, and are reaping the rewards.

First Impressions Equate to Time (In View) Worth Spent

We know brand safety matters to advertisers, but what about consumers? A study conducted by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Brand Safety Institute (BSI) of over one thousand respondents revealed that 90% agree² that non-placement of ads against unsafe or inappropriate content is very or somewhat important for advertisers. Additionally, over 80 percent would boycott a product and/or brand completely, if they saw it advertised against extreme or dangerous content.

Advertisers who prioritize and optimize for brand safety in their advertising drive higher in-view rates. The Integral Ad Science survey³ found both display viewability and brand safety drive a higher time-in-view, with this positive correlation higher on video streaming placements than display campaigns, as shown in the below chart.

Display Viewability & Brand Safety Drives Time-in-view

Brand Safe Commercials Are More Likely to Drive Higher Conversions

Brand safety doesn’t only positively impact on viewer engagement; it’s more likely to impact ROI. As the chart below shows³, in-view and brand safe impressions drove conversion rates up 57%, and fraud free impressions increased conversion rates up 363%.

How Brand Safety and Fraud-Free Advertisements Impact Conversions

Additionally, further investigation found that pairing ads with certain categories of content perform better than others. The Interactive Advertising Bureau commissioned Magid Research in a September 2020 study⁴, where they found:

  • 84% of consumers felt advertising alongside news outlets increased or maintained brand trust
  • 90% of consumers had a positive or neutral reaction to brands advertising within news outlets
  • Almost 50% of consumers found brands advertising in the news to be more relevant to them and innovative.

However, not all news sources are built equally, and consumer trust in brands advertising within news outlets increases only when associated with preferred news sources. This is why pairing ads alongside premium inventory is key. Research also revealed that consumers were more likely to exhibit more positive attributes and overall brand perception, and ultimately consider making a purchase after being exposed to a brand’s ad within a preferred news source.

Brand Suitability Takes Brand Safety’s Place

“While the pipes and the tech are important, you’re buying content, and you’re buying a relationship with consumers. So, definitely go back to the content and take a thorough look,” said Lisa Valentine, EVP of Client Solutions and Addressable Enablement at Disney Advertising Sales in a Adweek article⁵. Brand safety and brand suitability have commonly been mistaken for the same thing, however differences exist between the two, which have an impact on ad performance, insights and revenue⁶:

These differences, though subtle, gives advertisers more leeway to focus on the topic and context of their ad placements. Applying a suitability mindset means that advertisers can keep in mind the nuances of their brand, when considering which content (and formats) to advertise alongside. This not only benefits brands, but publishers and adtech companies, since they are able to glean insights gained through brand suitability data to better optimize their inventory.


There is a correlation between brand safe content, media attention and user action, and advertisers should pay attention to the type of content paired alongside their brands (such as news outlets, which viewers trust). However, there is a move within the digital advertising industry to take a more ‘flexible’ approach to brand safety instead of a blanket ‘no-size-fits-all’ one—and instead consider their brand’s unique nuances when selecting the type of content to pair with their ads creative.

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1 2021 Market Report and 2022 Outlook (MediaOcean)

2 Consumer Perceptions Around Brand Safe Advertising (Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Brand Safety Institute (BSI))

3 Does Media Quality Drive Attention Outcomes? (Integral Ad Science)

4 IAB Study Finds That Brands Benefit from Advertising Within News (Interactive Advertising Bureau)

5 Making Programmatic Work in Connected TV (Adweek)

6 Brand Safety vs. Brand Suitability (DoubleVerify)