How to Keep Your Brands Safe Online: Problems and Solutions
What are the threats to your brand online? In what ways can image security and ad safety be incorporated into your brand protection strategy?
Over time, your new business will develop a reputation. Sadly, one of the risks of business success is the possibility of plagiarism, hacking, and data loss. Once you become a household name, consumers are more likely to purchase your well-established brand.
With fame comes responsibility such as fending off counterfeit criminals who seek to capitalize on your brand name.
This article discusses how digital images and digital advertising can hurt the reputation of your brand. Furthermore, we demonstrate how a combination of security against image theft and contextual targeting can provide robust security.
What is brand protection?
Brand protection is a security measure to guard against pirates, counterfeiters, and intellectual property infringers. You can use it to protect your company's image, reputation, and revenue. Intellectual property (IP) includes creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, as well as symbols, names, and images used in commerce.
Brand infringement or brand abuse results from this unauthorized use. It can take various forms, ranging from counterfeiting to copyright infringement to brand impersonation. These tactics are designed to accomplish the same goal, which is allowing bad actors to exploit your brand's reputation for their own benefit.
The obvious consequence of this is the loss of revenue. What is arguably more important is that it can lead to trust erosion in your brand - and this can be devastating and lost lasting.
Why protecting your brand online should be a matter of concern for you?
Despite its widespread nature, brand abuse is well-established due to the rise of the internet.
According to recent statistics, the global counterfeit goods market is estimated to grow to 2.8 trillion dollars by 2022. Through online shopping and auction fraud, UK residents alone lost £69 million last year.
Because of the impersonal nature of online shopping and the internet's global reach, fraudsters have been able to reach millions.
Buying a product or service before e-commerce usually meant inspecting the product or speaking to a professional in person. It's clear, though, that in modern times, we feel far more comfortable basing our buying decisions on what we see on screens with global retail e-commerce sales going from $1.34 trillion to $4.28 trillion by 2020.
Can we really blame a less risk-aware shopper for clicking on the 'buy' button if the listing on a well-established e-commerce platform shows the correct logos, colors, designs, and sizes of a well-known brand?
Digital images are used to abuse brands
In order to convince online shoppers that a product is authentic, digital images are crucial. In a study, for example, 90% of shoppers rated the quality of photos as extremely or very important in their buying decisions. Figures like these highlight the importance of professionally taken images when it comes to building trust.
Moreover, the threat goes beyond e-commerce listings. A fraudster could easily create a fake social media account, or even an entire imitation website, with high-quality, official brand photography freely available online.
There are 137 million fake Facebook profiles, 5% of all Facebook profiles, and three billion phishing emails that typically send users to scam websites every day, which shows the scope of the problem.
Damage to digital advertising
Digital advertising is also a potential threat to your brand's reputation - as reported by 99% of advertisers. Programmatic advertising has nearly eliminated human intervention in the ad-selection process. This complete automation has, on the one hand, improved efficiency for advertisers. On the other hand, it has resulted in a reduction in quality control, leading to big problems for both advertisers and publishers.
Poor placement of ads
Badly placed ads have become a common occurrence due to the ever-increasing complexity of online advertising. Only 2.8% of participants felt the last digital ad they saw was relevant, according to a study.
It usually involves an ad showing up next to inappropriate content, and while it's possible to find humour in unfair placements, there's also a much more serious side. In a study, 70% of UK and 62% of US consumers said they would stop using a brand's goods if its ads were near unsafe material.
Ad placement, therefore, plays a critical role in the success of your advertising and, in turn, the protection of your brand.
Errors in retargeting
In retargeting, cookies are used to target users who have left a website without converting.
You may have noticed that you were being retargeted online after searching for something one day and afterward seeing it everywhere.
In some cases, digital advertising can be extremely effective, but it has some flaws. As an example, you may have rethought your decision since you visited the website, or you may have already bought the product in a store. It could even refer to a personal or sensitive product that you would prefer not to be reminded of.
In either case, the outcome results in a disgruntled user, which is bad for advertisers and publishers alike.
Although bad content can have a detrimental effect on a brand's digital ads, it can also work in the opposite direction. Ads with poor quality can be equally damaging to carefully curated content.
In the digital world, the term 'bad ads' refers to digital ads that create a bad user experience. They may contain offensive or inappropriate content, advertise fraudulent products or services, or spread malware through a practice known as malvertising.
Ads that do not work are problematic. Google alone removed and blocked 3.4 billion bad ads in 2021. Such an issue presents a real threat.
Programmatic advertising's anonymity allows bad actors to distribute this type of ad without being detected, so it's imperative that you take the necessary security measures to protect your brand.
Secure images to prevent brand abuse
Securing all imagery associated with your product or service is an essential component of any brand protection strategy. The right protection prevents fraudsters from copying, manipulating, and redistributing your images.
The easiest way to accomplish this is via image streaming, which allows you to control how each image is used online.
This technology allows you to stream all of your brand's images from a single bank of accredited master copies. With this, you can view a list of all pages where images are displayed and block specific domains if you wish.
Having your images verified further gives publishers peace of mind since they know the images they're using originate from a reputable source.
On the other hand, potential misusers of your brand would be subjected to multi-level theft prevention. Drag-and-drop is made impossible whereas right-clicks are met with copyright messages, and image-scraping robots are also discouraged.
Having a combination of protections like this makes it extremely difficult for abusers to impersonate your brand online with any credibility.
How can you keep your brands safe through contextual in-image advertising?
There are two risks associated with digital advertising: context and protection. Even the best-known brand can quickly have its reputation tarnished if ads are not displayed in the right context or if there are insufficient security measures in place to stop bad ads.
In-image contextual advertising can help ensure safe and effective online advertising. mFilterIt, for example, collaborates closely with image owners and libraries so that in-image advertisements are contextually targeted with complete accuracy.
mFilterIt’s Open-Source Intelligence analyzes the contents of the webpage, the image itself, and the user's geolocation to determine the environment in which an ad will appear. The ads are then matched perfectly to the surrounding environment, making them always relevant.
It can be difficult to determine where to start when dealing with brand protection, as it covers countless areas, both online and offline. Despite the fact that image security and contextual advertising alone won't protect your brand, they should be part of a comprehensive brand protection strategy. By implementing these steps, you'll be able to build a strong foundation for brand safety.
mFilterIt’s innovative technology provides a solid solution in an uncertain environment. Get in touch to learn more.