Are You “Brand Safe”?


As a meat processor, you stake your reputation on the quality and safety of your products. You wouldn’t dream of letting meat leave your plant without following every safety precaution to the letter of the law. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t as careful about maintaining the safety of their brand. Although intangible, your brand reputation requires the same kind of stringent safeguards that protect your meat products.

Being brand safe has become even more critical in the age of programmatic media buying, where automated algorithms, not human selection, determine where digital ads are shown. We are all exposed to programmatic ads multiple times a day: it’s the reason why an ad for those golf shoes you looked at on Amazon last night popped up when you checked ESPN.com headlines this morning.

So, while it’s essential to buy ads in the digital space in order to compete, it’s also risky. Without a full understanding of how programmatic advertising works, your ad can wind up exactly where you don’t want it.

Since algorithms place your ad in front of your target no matter where they might be, your brand may be placed around content you don’t want to be associated with, like political sites, hate sites and even articles praising your competitors. Bad placement can have a very adverse effect: 48% of consumers said they would boycott or rethink purchasing a brand if it appeared next to content that offends or concerns them, according to a CMO Council study.

But knowing which strategies will best safeguard your brand can be tricky, so I’ve outlined a key initial step for developing a successful brand safety program.

Pre-Campaign Set-Up: Be Seen Where You Want to Be Seen

The first line of defense to keep your brand safe is pre-campaign setup. Determine what content you are comfortable having your brand be around and set up a corresponding whitelist that outlines approved sites where your content can be placed. Although this is a simple step, according to AdWeek, only 14% of marketers are whitelisting sites.

And don’t forget the other side of the coin: think about where you don’t want your content to run and set up a blacklist of blocked sites and/or pages. Be strategic about blocking whole sites; some pages on a site may not fit your brand, while others might. Your blacklist should be monitored constantly and updated weekly.

Strategic pre-campaign set-up is just one way that you can help protect your brand and your advertising investment. Keep it in mind while navigating the digital advertising landscape and remember that the integrity of your brand is an asset worth protecting.

Have questions about digital advertising? Email me at media@midanmarketing.com.

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