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PPC Advertising Linked to Terror: The Scam that Ruins your Brand

PPC Advertising Linked to Terror: The Scam that Ruins your Brand

When experts say that the internet can be a very damaging environment for a brand they are not exaggerating. The internet is a risky place, is what our international private investigators keep trying to alert people all the time. But the risks are not limited to individuals who use online dating or social media; the risks transcend to almost any person and company out there who connects to the internet. There are many emerging threats for businesses and many things are at stake that can impact your brand.  Every company should be aware of the risks and know what can impact their brands in order to handle the situation promptly and avoid a crisis that can affect its stability.

In 2017, several companies have faced a brand safety crisis due to poorly located advertisement that was linked to their brand. In early 2017 an article in The Times claimed that “Big brands fund terror through online adverts”, causing a turmoil in the online advertising industry. The subsequent response was massive, particularly of Jaguar Land Rover, which was the first major advertiser to pull all their digital advertising in the UK as a result of brand safety concerns. Were these big brands intentionally advertising in websites that promote terrorism, pornography, hate speech, violence and illegal drug consumption? Most likely not! But the damage to the brands was already done.

Procter & Gamble brand chief has since then started a revolution after their brands suffered the consequences of a terrible juxtaposition of ad-content. His strategy has been simple yet convincing:  cutting online ad spending by $140 million! Why did one of major advertisers take that decision?

Marketers know better than anyone that building a brand’s reputation is not easy. It takes time, talent and a lot of money. In some categories, companies spend as much as a quarter of their overall budgets on marketing alone, which is why they cannot afford to risk being damaged by bad ad placements. And while advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars, the biggest players in the online advertising industry, Google and Facebook, have not only dismissed the accusations by companies and regulators, but have blamed the advertisers for seeking low-priced placements.

There are many things wrong with the online advertising supply chain, but blaming the customer for brand safety issues is off limits. Some clients affected were possibly hunting for the lowest possible price per click and not on top of their game, but it is unfair to suggest that this somehow justified their advertising appearing in such unacceptable media contexts and funding such criminal organizations.  The bottom line is that when a company pays Google or Facebook to run their ads, they do not have full control over where those ads may or may not appear on the Internet.

When a PPC manager decides to trust Google or Facebook and run pay per click advertising, their brand can end up being attacked by the mainstream, liberal media for appearing on an inappropriate website, even though the ads were placed by Google or Facebook, and not the advertiser.

“Our clients, for instance, invest a lot of money in professional employment background check investigations and international due diligence investigations to reduce their chances of being victim to scam and fraud, but many remain unaware that the enemy to their brand might be their own advertising agency or Google”, says Paul Fletcher, VP of Due Diligence services at Wymoo.

Advertising should be safe for brands, and big internet and media companies need to understand that there is a need for more transparency, and a fair warning to their customers.

C. Wright
© 2017 Wymoo International
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