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BizReport : Advertising archives : October 21, 2010

Is your brand truly safe online?

Over the past year a lot has been said about brand safety, including where to place ads, where to listen to consumers' opinions and how to handle brand issues. Some marketers may think these options are all that are needed, but one industry expert disagrees. According to Burst Media's CEO brands also need verification for the online space.

by Kristina Knight

burstmedia.gif"Advertising has always required verification, email or otherwise. We suspended this rule online for a number of years during which the Internet was largely unconcerned with placement and position," said Jarvis Coffin, Burst Media CEO. "[Now], the [advertising] budgets are bigger and so are the stakes."

So, how can a brand be safe and verified? Read on for Coffin's tips.

Kristina: "Why are marketers just now beginning to consider brand verification?"

Coffin: "The budgets are bigger and so are the stakes. The world isn't necessarily making more advertising dollars to accommodate new media. The money must come from traditional media. This means making well-considered choices that need to be verified."

Kristina: "How does a brand become 'verified' and what does that mean for consumers, in addition to marketers?"

Coffin: "Right now, verification mostly means assuring nothing bad happened. After that, did everything run as ordered on the web sites and in the places requested. For marketers as well as consumers verification is succeeding at dragging large swaths of the internet - swaths in the so-called long tail - out into the commercial mainstream. This is hugely important if the internet is going to succeed at applying its value proposition for the benefit of advertisers: i.e., the right message, in the right place, at the right time. Without verification advertisers will continue to huddle around branded web sites that, while rich in media value, are not incrementally rich vs. their offline counterparts. With verification advertisers can use the internet the way consumers use the internet - to know more about the things they want to know, when they need and want to know them. And for consumers this means more advertising dollars - therefore resources - to the independent publishers that are unquestionably the fabric of the internet."

Kristina: "Some marketers may be confused about brand safety versus brand verification ... could you explain the difference?"

Coffin: "Brand verification looks back. Brand safety looks forward. Verification looks at what happened. It's an audit. Safety understands what's expected. It's a shared commitment. Brand verification says, "If the business doesn't run according to your preferences, you won't pay.' Brand safety says, "Your preferences match our preferences. Accordingly, we both desire to work with each other.'"

Kristina: "Is brand safety more important than brand verification or, if both are of equal importance, how can brands ensure they're both safe and verified?"

Coffin: "Brand safety is not going to be as important to everyone in the way that verification should be important to everyone. Every marketer should know it got what it paid for, but not every marketer will need or want to pay for the message value - the media value - that comes from partnering with providers - web sites or their representatives - for whom additional quality considerations in terms of content and collaboration are as important to their brand as to the brand advertisers that might depend on them."

Tags: brand advertising, brand safety, brand verification, Burst Media, online advertising

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