Brand safety in the digital world

The recent article in Boston Globe highlights the importance and uncertainty of brand safety in the digital world. It’s the dreaded call that no client wants to get – your ad has been seen in some unanticipated environment. In more traditional media channels a brand (or media planner) can predict exactly where and when an ad will be placed. They have control over the environment and the messaging. Some say the digital world is the wild west with far too little quality control. The truth is, a lot of work has been done to assure these issues are the objection, not the rule. Publishers and agencies have continued to impress upon the industry as a whole the importance of the topic, and we’d venture to say that 90% of the time it works out. But, it is not a perfect science and that slim margin for error has many marketers feeling skittish when authorizing any sort of buy through exchanges or networks. As agency partners it is incumbent for us to do the best we can to safeguard our brands by using trusted media partners, proactively black listing questionable sites and ongoing campaign monitoring. However, any time a non-site direct buy is placed, there is no way to completely exclude the possibility that a banner will be served outside of an approved site list. Some might say it is the cost of doing business in the digital world.