The Orca Pacific Blog

Guide to Brand Safety for Amazon DSP Advertisers

Article by: Xuanmai Vo

All advertisers share one common goal and that is to get their ads in front of the most relevant users but never at the cost of appearing next to unsafe content. It is now more important than ever for advertisers to reduce the risk associated with programmatic advertising (such as Amazon DSP) by defining what brand safety means for their brand.

Programmatic campaigns offer limitless opportunities for advertisers hoping to capture a broad audience. Between the plethora of organizations working to define brand safety measures (Interactive Advertising Bureau, Media Rating Council, and more) and advertisers with brand safety in mind, risks associated with programmatic advertising can be diminished and appropriately handled.

The difference between brand safety and brand suitability

In today’s ever-changing digital advertising environment, brand safety continues to be a concern for advertisers around the world. With the ability to automatically buy and sell ads, advertisers are not able to predict the exact placement of their ads which increases brand safety risks.

Brand safety is about protecting the brand’s reputation when running ad campaigns. These practices are put in place by advertisers to protect the brand’s voice and reputation and consist of:

  • Avoiding ad placements on unsuitable websites
  • Avoiding ad placements alongside risky content

Brand suitability is unique to each individual brand and encompasses matching ads to content that aligns with the brand’s values, voice, and reputation. By understanding which types of content resonates with a brand’s values, advertisers can balance reach and protection. Built on the fundamental concept of brand safety, brand suitability ensures that a brand’s reputation isn’t eroded by the content surrounding it. Beyond just avoiding ad placements, brand suitability seeks to identify the placements that work best for the brand.

Amazon differentiates the two by stating that, “brand safety is about protecting your brand from harm. Brand suitability is about supporting and developing your specific brand identity by understanding which types of content resonate with your brand, while avoiding associations with content that doesn’t fit with your brand.

Put simply, a gaming company may not find it brand-suitable to advertise on an app or website focused on outdoor recreation, where the primary audience consists of outdoor enthusiasts. Content about backpacking necessities may not be brand-suitable for a company that sells home office supplies. A website that has a humorous tone may not be brand-suitable for a company who sells mold remediation products.

Pop Quiz!
You’re an advertiser for a company that sells pet food and your brand voice is casual and humorous.

•Would it be brand-suitable to consider a website with a serious tone?
•Would it be brand-suitable to advertise alongside hunting-focused content?
•Would it be brand-suitable to place your ad on a website that sells human food?

If you answered no to all three questions, you nailed it! You now know the difference between brand suitability and brand safety.

How to ensure brand safety in Amazon DSP campaigns

Reliant on third-party providers, much of Amazon’s owned and operated inventory is considered brand-safe as Amazon continues to take extensive steps to patrol and ensure its platform meets the digital safety standards. Amazon DSP is one of the fastest-growing demand-side platforms out there that specializes in first-party data. Built within the demand-side platform are 3P pre-bid verification integrations that advertisers can utilize: DoubleVerify, Oracle Data Cloud, Integral Ad Science, and Pixalate.


DoubleVerify is the leading independent platform that provides tools for advertisers and brands to detect fraud, viewability, and brand safety. Launched in 2008 as the first brand safety solution, DoubleVerify allows brands to verify that they are paying for actual traffic and not bot traffic, ensure that ads are formatted correctly per device type, and increase brand safety by controlling where their ads show up.

Oracle Data Cloud is a cloud-based tool for brands to manage all marketing and customer interaction programs, allowing insights into the customer journey to create and deliver more targetable media campaigns. 



Integral Ad Science analyzes the value of digital advertising placements to help brands, agencies, and publishers launch impactful campaigns. Known for addressing fraud issues, viewability, and brand risk, IAS ensures that ads are viewable by real people in safe environments. 

Pixalate is a privacy and compliance analytics platform that is built to bring transparency to programmatic advertising by providing fraud protection across connected TV, mobile apps, and websites. 


These additional brand safety partners are built into Amazon DSP at no additional cost to advertisers unlike Google’s Display & Video 360. Using specific pre-bid filters for an additional layer of protection, advertisers can ensure their ad dollars are not spent on unsuitable and risky content by excluding certain content categories and adjusting risk-level exclusions.

Advertisers around the world know that the more traffic and ads served, the more money publishers can make. It is a well known problem that part of media buys generate bot traffic. Approximately 27% of online traffic is from bad bots, making it more important than ever to utilize the Fraud and Invalid Traffic pre-bid setting. In doing so, advertisers can avoid bot traffic by setting the control percentage accordingly – the higher the risk level, the lower the delivery.

Display Viewability measures the percentage of viewable impressions per ad – the higher the percentage, the more visibility. The viewability standard by the Internet Advertising Bureau indicates that 50% of the ad must be viewed for one second (display ads) and two seconds (video ads). Some factors that contribute to ads not being viewable include but are not limited to:
• Page position
• Channel
• Publisher
• Industry

More insights on viewability here.

Threats to brand safety

When revenue and reputation depend on the ad placement quality, advertisers must have a strong contextual understanding to ensure ads are not placed near false or malicious allegations. From fake news to extremist views to bad bot traffic, the risk of brand safety can be mitigated with necessary actions. On a general level, the lower the bid the less premium and more risky the placement location will be. Keeping this in mind, advertisers should regularly optimize their campaigns to ensure a positive ROI while keeping their brand image safe.

What safety measures to take

To start, advertisers should define what brand safety means for their brand as it varies across industries and departments. Here are some tips to ensure brand-safe campaigns:

  • Work with a reputable, trusted agency
  • Avoid blacklisted publishers
  • Regularly monitor campaigns in real-time
  • Exclude negative targets
  • Block sensitive categories
  • Blacklist certain keywords, websites, and apps

Given the rapidly changing nature of the internet, it is imperative that advertisers regularly review ad placements and identify any unsuitable placements and add those channels to their blacklist, which will prevent ads from appearing on that channel in the future. To further optimize for future campaigns, advertisers can pull a report of every website/app for every ad impression, which can be analyzed to exclude the lower-performing channels.

Programmatic advertisers who focus on quality (optimum ad placements) rather than quantity (impressions and click rates) will be able to reach their most relevant audience in a safe manner that will not tarnish the brand’s reputation and messaging.

Read more about Amazon’s commitment to brand protection.

Final thoughts

We understand that programmatic advertising can be complicated, which is why our advertising team can help you navigate the challenges and risks associated with today’s digital platforms. Our team will work with you to strategize a campaign that resonates with your brand’s reputation, ensuring your brand voice is heard within a brand-safe environment. We regularly update our Brand Safety guidelines to provide you with advertising best practices in today’s digital world while keeping your revenue goals in mind. Let’s chat today!

Contact one of our Amazon Ads Specialists below or reach out to us at:

Curious what we can do for your business?

Contact us for a Free Quote

Get Started