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How to Protect Your Brand Image Across Native Ad Networks

Published: February 6, 2018

Author: Dave Hennessy

As any brand running advertising across multiple channels knows, the more places your brand appears, the more opportunities there are for your brand name to get compromised – whether by context, association, or both. This shouldn’t keep you from exploring new digital channels, though.
Native advertising is a proven component of an effective multi-channel advertising program and can yield incredible results for brands. To ensure you scale your digital advertising program with native successfully and safely, follow these five guidelines to protect your brand online:

1. Partner with premium networks

Unless your native advertising strategy relies on click arbitrage, there’s really no reason to partner with sketchy ad networks. Focus your time and energy on larger, more premium ad networks like Outbrain, Yahoo Gemini, and ShareThrough that will allow you to scale across thousands of quality sites without showing up next to questionable clickbait.

2. Launch on a premium site whitelist (and apply a site blacklist)

Once you’ve determined the ad network(s) you’d like to partner with, ask for an export of their publisher list, comb through each line item, and create a site whitelist that aligns with your brand standards. Additionally, be sure to apply a site blacklist at the account level to ensure your campaigns aren’t serving ads on publisher sites you want to avoid (e.g. Breitbart in 2017).

3. Bid competitively to secure the best placements

Typically, ad networks reward more competitive bids with more premium placements, depending on what inventory is available. Always understand the suggested bid range for each of your campaigns (most networks will display this within their respective Campaign Settings flow), and when possible, bid as competitively as you can. Keep in mind that suggested bid ranges will vary depending on the campaign device type, destination page, and other factors.

4. Explore different ad formats

The majority of native ad networks have more than one ad product, and defaulting to the ‘primary’ or most popular ad type isn’t always your best option. Explore opportunities to run in-feed ads, video ads, or other formats that may guarantee more share-of-voice and make it more likely your brand’s ads aren’t showing up next to lesser-quality ads.

5. Make consistent optimizations

Even with all of these settings in place, consistent optimizations are key. Native networks are incredibly volatile – inventory and competition fluctuate on a daily basis – so it’s crucial that you make regular checks on publisher spend, CPCs, CTRs, and other relevant metrics to ensure you’re maximizing the likelihood of securing the highest-quality placements possible.

Important disclaimer: There is no way to 100% guarantee your brand’s native ads won’t serve alongside lesser-quality or competitor ads (with a few exceptions), but taking all of these steps should greatly improve your chances.
To learn more about native advertising and how we can safeguard your brand, contact us.

For more information on how to protect your brand integrity, check out our other posts here.


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