Creative risks over brand reach risks

There’s a time and a place for risks in your ads in your brand strategy.

We’ve seen brands that are so worried about the content of their display ad being too risky that they don’t think twice about where it might be showing up next to on the internet.

Imagine you are advertising for a real-estate company and have contextual targeting set up for “Washington DC suburb home” or “homes near Montrose Park” in Google Ads. If you’re trying to sell these homes, you don’t want your ad showing up next to a local news article about a recent house fire, rabid wildlife or dangerous people being spotted in those areas.

This becomes what we like to call “Negative Reach,” and it is incredibly damaging for a brand. At Hearts & Science, we understand the importance of your brand appearing in the right places.

The far-reaching effects of Negative Reach

In a world where brands are expected to take a stand on relevant societal issues and consumers are quick to call them out on social media for any missteps, brands must ensure the ads they are putting out into the world are carefully aligned to their overall purpose.

It’s not just a waste to maximise reach at the expense of your brand image; it’s hurting your bottom line.

Millennials and Gen Xers are particularly aware and sensitive to Negative Reach.

Forces of Change Net Attention Statistics

And perhaps most damaging, 51% are less likely to purchase from such a brand, even if the placement was not the brand’s fault.

Related post: Cutting through the noise to reach millennials

So how safe is your brand?

Building up the defences

While there are no guaranteed ways to ensure brand safety 100% of the time, there are a number of steps you can, and should take, to combat the effects of Negative Reach in your brand strategy.

  1. Engage a third-party verification provider.
  2. Check the sites you are advertising on with technology and by a real person.
  3. Adopt ads.txt to verify authorised resellers.
  4. Move from an SSP (supply-side platform) to a PMP (private marketplace).
  5. Test fraud technology frequently.
  6. Develop your own whitelists and audit it with humans.

“Every brand and agency should be held accountable to know and monitor—both from a technology perspective and from a human perspective—every domain a brand’s ad is served on. Media agencies buy media, so if they don’t know every site where the media is being placed, they’re not doing their job.”
–Megan Pagliuca, Chief Data Officer at Hearts & Science

The threat of Negative Reach is real, but by working together, we can combat it.

For a full report on brand safety and Negative Reach, see the Forces of Change white paper.

Bold creative

And while you have brand safety on the mind, remember that doesn’t exclude bold creative! Bold creative can help your brand stand out in good ways. With great ads in the perfect places, you’ll attract the right kind of customers.

Simply remember your target audience and have some fun with them!

Malteser Typo Crash and Stack Overflow Jobs campaigns

If your ad feels “too safe,” you’re probably not trying hard enough. Push yourself a little and see where it takes you!

Best of both worlds

In our work with clients, we take great care in placing bold ads in responsible places. Our campaigns are optimised for quality over quantity reach, so you’re maximising your returns, not just eyeballs.

Contact our team to build the perfect campaign or check out the full Forces of Change report on Negative Reach.