Are brands on social media walking on thin ice?

Industry experts suggest that brands need to take greater measures and closely collaborate with platforms to ensure a safer advertising environment

by Nilanjana Basu
Published - December 14, 2023
3 minutes To Read
Are brands on social media walking on thin ice?

The social media space has turned into a minefield for brands, thanks to deepfakes, risky content or platforms taking controversial geopolitical stands.

Recently, a bunch of brands, including IBM, Disney and Apple,halted advertising on X over Elon Musk’s antisemitic comments. Dating companies Match Group and Bumble also suspended their ads on Instagram after their ads were placed around inappropriate content dealing with kids.

For brands and advertisers, it has become a task to ensure that their ads are placed carefully, and not associated with anything controversial. Industry experts suggest that brands need to take greater measures to closely collaborate with platforms to ensure a safer environment and conduct regular audits, among other things.

Mitesh Kothari, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of White Rivers Media, highlights the shift from mere reach to resonance in ad placements. “Brands must carefully select the platforms and placements where their ads appear, ensuring alignment with their values and the surrounding content. The rise of deepfakes adds a new layer of complexity. Brands must safeguard their reputation by ensuring their ads are not manipulated or misused. This requires close collaboration with platforms and vigilance in detecting potential deep fakes.”

He further said that to ensure positive ad perception, brands must adapt to the ever-evolvingsocial medialandscape, including changing norms, expectations, and regulations.

According to Abhishek Maity, Co-Founder of Adbuffs, brands navigate this complex social media milieu by scrutinizing platforms that prioritize transparency and ethical content dissemination. “In this complex social media milieu, brands are adopting meticulous measures to safeguard their integrity. They are increasingly scrutinizing platforms, aligning with those that prioritize transparency, ethical content dissemination, and robust safeguards against threats of deepfakes. To preclude the possibility of backlash, brands are embracing proactive approaches.

This involves thorough research into platform policies, constant monitoring of engagement dynamics, and staying attuned to the shifting socio-political landscape. In essence, advertisers are recognizing that, in the age of heightened scrutiny, strategic ad placements demand not just visibility but an astute understanding of the intricate threads weaving together technology, politics, and public perception.”

Maity also suggests that brands must proactively engage in understanding the prevailing situation. “Rigorous vetting processes, real-time monitoring, and leveraging advanced AI tools to detect deepfakes have become imperative. Brands should foster transparency, openly addressing concerns and communicating ethical ad practices. By aligning advertising strategies with the ethical considerations of the day, brands can not only weather the storm but also emerge as beacons of responsibility in the ever-evolving landscape of social media advertising.”

Sayak Mukherjee, Founder/Director at Brandwizz Communications, advises brands not to abandon platforms but to exercise caution in ad placements. “Advanced content verification tools are present that can help in finding the authenticity of a content where ads are getting placed. Understanding the demographics and preferences of the TG is crucial.”

He opines that brands should start with a thorough research on the social media platform, the types of content prevalent on it, and the potential risks associated. It is critical to establish clear guidelines and policies regarding ad placements and the type of content they want to avoid.

“Conducting regular audits can help identify and address potential ad placement issues proactively. Brands should also be ready to respond promptly and effectively if their ads face backlash, demonstrating accountability and a commitment to addressing concerns,” Mukherjee added.