Sunil Nair
May 07, 2020

Opinion: 'Brands need to note how reputation could be compromised'

To create a better and safer environment for brands, one must integrate human intelligence, says the author

Opinion: 'Brands need to note how reputation could be compromised'
Brand safety has been a concern for marketers for several years and continues to be a matter of discussion globally. While we witness sharp growth in the digital advertising space, brands need to note how its reputation could be compromised if not looked at this key aspect.
Digital partners, agencies need to be more adept in equipping themselves with skills and measures that will bring more accountability. While few businesses have incorporated ad-fraud solutions that counter fake news and advertising, such solutions should perhaps form broader policies that include brand safety measures that more actively blacklist platforms.
More and more brands are now using digital video content to advertise, educate, and entertain. Coupled with the rise of short video content and other ad-tech platforms that are largely pivotal on user generated content, marketers are even more at risk to compromise their brand’s safety for the large numbers that some these platforms have to offer. Largely powered by tier three/tier four town users, marketers have their job cut out to ensure a safer environment for their brands with a more cautious, calculated approach.
The trick is in arriving at a well-defined brand safety guideline that goes beyond the usual crime, military conflict, obscenity, adult content. Chances are that with broad guidelines you are likely going to end up compromising reach, hence a deeper dive into keyword restriction is important. In addition to that ad-tech platforms must own up and take initiatives to use advanced technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence to power their content moderation. However, technology alone will not cut it. In my opinion, in the day and age that we live in, to create a better and safer environment for brands, one must integrate human intelligence to make the platform completely tamper proof.
Brands, on the other hand, have shown faith in inventory that offers a lot more transparency in their inventory. Ad-tech platforms with walled garden approach will find it hard to integrate this transparency as opposed to open web platforms that offer a lot more to marketers to make an informed decision.
In a world of evolving content, the only way to understand true context is to dive deep and analyze content on platforms. While focus must remain on optimising marketing efforts a sharp eye on the content, even at a page level will be critical to protect a brands reputation. No matter what the brand guidelines are, reputation is likely to suffer with blind spots, unless the brand has their ad-tech partners commitment to offer an environment that is free from unsafe content.
As digital ad revenues continue to grow, we all must take responsibility to integrate efforts in ensuring a content environment that is easily distinguishable through strict policies and stricter laws that could be enforced against fraud/fake/insensitive content. This will encourage sustainable growth in business and instill tremendous confidence from brands and marketers.
(The author is CEO, Firework India)
Campaign India

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