Social media platforms have come in for heavy criticism on issues of brand safety over the last couple of years but brands themselves have a responsibility to define their own “tolerances”, says a Facebook executive.

Jon Steinback, Facebook’s director of product marketing for EMEA and global channels, spoke exclusively to WARC to provide more detail about the company’s attempts to create a safer environment for brands.

Alongside its own enforcement efforts, Facebook has also introduced a three-tier model for identifying content that is safe, suitable and that brands would be prepared to tolerate. (For more, read the full article: Facebook on why advertisers must understand their own brand safety ‘tolerances’.)

At the most basic level, Facebook promises to keep all brands “safe” from the most offensive material with its content “floor”, policed by its enforcement teams and technology.

Then it also encourages advertisers to consider the kinds of content which one might not categorise as offensive, but which are likely to jar when appearing alongside a particular type of brand.

“For some people, safety is not being in a situation that can be embarrassing for them,” he said. “The important thing for us is that we provide the right level of controls and also that transparency is inherent in this.”

Finally, the social network is urging brands to define their own “tolerances”, and create a media strategy that is harmonious with campaign goals and business aims.

Steinback argued that brands are “much more aware” of the context in which they’re advertising. And with “tens of millions” of firms using Facebook to reach consumers, he said the platform must offer a “huge spectrum” of options to suit all brand safety preferences.

So performance advertisers might be less concerned with brand image and more focused on optimising to get the lowest price product at the greatest scale. At the other end of the spectrum are “people who are thinking a lot more carefully about their long-term brand image” and who are looking carefully at what they appear next to.

“We’re seeing expression at both ends of that,” said Steinback.

Facebook is making a point of educating clients about its ecosystem, and using resources, such as its annual Transparency Report, to convey its efforts to create a brand safety environment for advertising.

“The internet’s evolving very quickly, [so] education has to evolve very quickly,” he said.

“Once you got people to understand the ecosystem, I think each brand is really well equipped to make the right decisions.”

Sourced from WARC