We live in a digital world, so it makes sense that online marketing channels are a great space to improve a brand’s visibility and reputation. However, it can easily tear it down without proper management and regular maintenance. Consider the many brand safety incidents that made the headlines throughout 2018 and those that continue to do so in 2019. How would a negative incident affect your brand?
How would you even begin to prevent one from happening? Brand safety is a huge factor to think about when marketing in the digital space, whether it be on social media platforms, starting paid advertising campaigns, or simply when creating content for your website. No one wants their company’s identity associated with the wrong kind of message, which is why so many businesses and advertisers are asking the big question — “how to keep my brand safe in the digital world?”
Market To The Right Audience
Be sure that you’re applying your brand’s suitability to your brand safety. This creates importance in understanding what is “suitable” for your brand; your messaging, your audience and their expectations of you, as well as the environments your brand is represented in. Different brands have different topical areas that they don’t want or shouldn’t have their advertising served in. For example, Disney might not want to market an ad next to an article about a new night club, while an ad for an alcoholic beverage would probably do pretty well there. Contextual awareness helps to make sure you are advertising on the appropriate channels for your business goals while serving those ads to a more relevant audience. When considering the channels to market on and the advertisements you will make, think about your brand’s tolerance to risk in order to make informed decisions of where to advertise. If this is something you need help with please reach out to us.
Showing up in Google’s search engine results page (SERP) and on the Google Display Network (GDN) is the goal when advertising with Google Ads. As you become more visible (gain impressions) you have the potential to improve brand awareness and get the sought after “clicks” from a qualified audience. One perk of paid advertising is the ability to selectively target specific audience types as well as locations in which ads will be shown; however, there may be instances where you might NOT want to show up on the SERP or the GDN. If you are advertising through search, you might want to add “negative keywords.” Negative keywords tell Google when you do not want your ad to appear. Some may be more obvious and deemed unsafe for a brand; phrases involving adult content, extreme violence, and hate speech for example. But, there are also phrases that are not good for your brand safety and are not so obvious. These may push the ideals of a competitor or into a different vertical that is unsuitable for your audience.
For example, if you are selling a software that requires the user to purchase it, then you might want to add “free” as a negative keyword so that “free software,” or any other variation including “free,” would not show up. Or, say you are selling shoes for adults. Here you could add “kids,” “children,” “infants,” etc. as negatives so you do not waste your budget on unwanted and unqualified clicks.
You might also want to add “exclusions” on the GDN if you are running display or remarketing ads. The GDN has thousands of sites that have opted into their network and not all of them will be sites you want your ads to appear on. For instance, you might not want your ads to show on certain political sites or sites that do not match what your brand stands for. In this case, you can exclude URLs from showing your display or remarketing ads so that your brand is protected.
Stay Up To Date
Keeping your website design and social media up to date will also help to keep your brand safe. When it comes to your brand, it is critical to ensure you’re using the right language for your company and keeping a consistent brand voice, and that your content is viewable and compliant with ADA standards. Keeping your site secure will help guard against fraud or even people attempting to hack your site. Make sure you present your brand with transparency, or you run the risk of making your brand seem fraudulent itself. Results Repeat can help with all of this if you’re feeling lost or have a question.
Brand visibility is a huge factor in digital marketing. By putting your company’s name out there, you can garner a lot of new interest in your products, but it’s important to know where your content is going. Brand safety is what takes the “set it and forget it” aspect out of digital marketing, as it’s something to constantly monitor. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that can help you monitor your brand reputation in various ways, such as tracking brand mentions online. Tracking online mentions to see how people are directly interacting with a brand online, allows for quick action to be taken if brand safety is at risk.