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Three Questions Every Marketer Should Ask When Evaluating Brand Safety

The topic of brand safety dominated the marketing world in 2017. It may be a new year, but brand safety continues to be a major point of conversation in 2018.

According to a survey conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers, 70 percent of brands believe that the importance of brand safety has risen over the last 12 months.

Amplification is a major part of the problem. All it takes is for one person to see an ad shown in the wrong place, capture a screenshot, then share it on social media. As a result, an ad with a small number of impressions on an unsavory website has the potential to go viral.

In a world where the term “fake news” has become part of everyday vernacular, you might be wondering how your brand can stay protected when running a programmatic campaign. The answer might actually lie in the questions you ask before it even launches.

Question 1: How proactive are you in the audience buying process?

Taking a passive approach may increase the odds of your brand getting into trouble. Running a retargeting campaign without actively maintaining a list of high and low quality content sources is not the best practice. Rather, you should be doing the opposite.

Ensure that someone on your team is or working closely with an ad tech vendor to build a blacklist of poor sites. One way to evaluate if your content is appearing on low-quality websites is by keeping a log of site-level impression delivery.

Building a whitelist of quality websites also requires a mindful approach. Making a list of approved sites for your brand to appear will allow greater control of your ad inventory.

Question 2: Are you investing in the right tools?

Running a brand safe campaign requires working with the appropriate technology. It’s important to note that not all ad tech or demand-side platforms address all the needs of a programmatic campaign.

Choosing the right kind of DSP can make or break whether your ads appear next to unsavory content. In order to best stay protected, it’s ideal to select DSPs aligned with pre-bid targeting that are accredited by the Media Rating Council.

Knowing the goals of your campaign is also a critical element to answering this question. Having clear-cut objectives will allow you to choose ad tech that can help you reach your objectives as well as address any of your brand safety concerns.

Question 3: Are you prioritizing reach and impressions above all other metrics?

Reach and impressions only tell part of a campaign’s story. If these data points are primarily how you’re weighing the success of a campaign, then your brand is probably at greater risk of being compromised.

Alluding back to the answer for question one, quality matters a great deal. And a major reason why brands may have found themselves in serious trouble is because higher numbers of reach and impressions are topping their priority lists. Volume and quantity of distribution doesn’t always lead to successful results.

If you’re looking for a model to follow, there are some brands taking the quantity versus quality debate to heart. In a recent episode of the eMarketer podcast, Marc Goldberg, CEO of Trust Metrics, spoke about JP Morgan Chase as one company that’s seen success by choosing quality first.

“I think you see the Chase team was on stage recently talking about (how) they went from 400,000 domains to 5,000 to 10,000 domains and didn’t see any loss in scale,” Goldberg said. “They saw higher viewability, less fraud, and no impact to scale. And with no impact to scale, that should resonate to a lot of media buyers because they use that channel specifically for scale.”

Still have concerns about the safety of your brand during a programmatic campaign? Contact Awlogy today for more tips and to assess your options.

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