31/01/2014 08:42 GMT | Updated 02/04/2014 06:59 BST

Online Advertising: Where Ignorance Really Isn't Bliss

The rising popularity of e-commerce and the ability to personalise advertisements to make them more relevant to the consumer, is causing the advertising community to sit up and take notice. Marketers are pouncing on the opportunity to be seen by millions of customers and prospects, and as a result, are increasing their investment in digital advertising. However, for many marketers, online advertising is the equivalent of a rocky relationship.

Just recently we conducted research which found that that over a third (38 per cent) of UK brands don't know where their advertising impressions are appearing online. Over half of the senior marketing professionals surveyed reported that the online advertising industry is not transparent enough. So whilst everything might seem blissful on the surface, when you look a little deeper, the advertisers' relationship with the digital world can be confusing and potentially very unfulfilling.

So why is it so difficult to find out where your advertising is appearing online, and how can marketing professionals take back the reins over their collateral and get what they really need out of their online relationship?

The pitfalls of online advertising

Whilst the possibilities of online advertising may seem endless, with so many places to take your brand, it can be easy to lose yourself and your collateral. In an age where ads are bought and impressions sold in a matter of milliseconds, it's easy to take your eyes off the prize and completely lose touch with your online advertising. If you're unable to keep track of where your campaign content is appearing, your brand could be flirting with a pornographic or pro-terror website behind your back, or even appearing on an illegal download site without your knowledge.

Internet advertising is growing, but the fact is, right now, it's a promiscuous business. Due to the vastness and live nature of the news agenda, it's important that advertisers and marketers keep on top of their content. With the unpredictable nature of the breaking news agenda, there's always the risk that even the most desirable advertising placement could damage your brands reputation. In a matter of seconds, news stories can change, and the content your brand is seen alongside could suddenly be either inappropriate or completely conflict with the brands values. To name a few, these can be stories about paedophilia, natural disaster, political scandal or global war crimes. All of which can threaten brand reputation, through no fault of the advertisers.

Managing your online relationship

In order to protect a brands reputation, it's important to be proactive and start developing digital strategies that will help you to take control over your brand's online destiny. Forward thinking, innovative solutions are the key to success.

Content verification tools help put an end to these brand damaging situations and bring some control to the online advertising whirlwind. This type of technology has the capacity to defend a brand's reputation online in real-time by preventing an encounter with some of the darkest websites on the internet and being reactive to changes in the news agenda. All marketing professionals need to do is define specific keywords that they don't want their brand to be associated with and create a blacklist of sites where they don't want their ads appearing. The technology takes care of the rest.

The online advertising environment is in a state of constant flux, so it's never been more important for agencies and organisations to adopt a robust and proactive brand protection strategy. So don't turn a blind eye to the threats of online advertising, defend against it.