Brand Risk: Safeguard Your Brand in the Digital Ecosystem

Building a brand is a challenging undertaking. Besides offering something unique, one has to put significant effort towards creating a unique identity that audiences like and relate to. Protecting a brand’s reputation may well be one of the most important aspects of an effective and holistic marketing strategy.

Fortunately, modern marketers are becoming increasingly aware that modern brand reputations face threats online. In a survey of brand marketers, advertising agencies, tech companies, and media providers, conducted in the last quarter of 2022, 40% expected their brand safety concerns to rise.

Identifying Threats to Digital Advertising Campaigns and the Need for Brand Risk Monitoring

Unfortunately, maintaining a brand reputation can sometimes be more difficult than building it. Simply being aware that there are threats out there isn’t nearly enough. Marketers must understand the ever-evolving threats to digital advertising campaigns across app, web, and programmatic ad platforms and stay proactive to protect their advertising budget and brand reputation.

This article will help you do exactly that. In the upcoming sections, we will discuss the most significant risks to brand reputation today. We will also cover actionable steps to implement brand safety advertising that enables safe and sustainable growth for your brand.

3 Major Brand Risk

Many factors threaten a brand’s reputation online. While some are directly influenced by the brand’s actions, there are others that most brands don’t directly control. In this section, we will discuss three of the biggest, most prevalent threats from the advertising and brand safety point of view.

Ad Fraud

Ad fraud can take many forms, but the basic premise remains the same- faking clicks, impressions, or downloads to drain a brand’s marketing budget. Fraudsters take credit for these fake clicks or downloads and unsuspecting advertisers end up paying for them. Estimates say that advertisers collectively lose several billion dollars to ad fraud every year.

While the connection between ad fraud and the monetary damage it causes is easy to make, one may wrongly believe that ad fraud does not pose a threat to a brand’s reputation. In fact, it influences a brand’s reputation in two different ways.

  • Adult websites and MFA (Made-for-advertising) sites are some of the biggest sources of click spamming and impression fraud. While most brands actively avoid adult websites, fraudulent publishers can fake website information and get ads published on adult websites or MFAs. This drains ad budgets with fake clicks, shows the brand’s ad to a completely irrelevant and disinterested audience, and most importantly, hurts the brand’s image by showing its ads next to adult content (more on this in the next section) or on low-quality content sites.
  • One of the most common methods of ad fraud is exploiting rewards offered by brands to boost their app downloads. Fraudsters create thousands of fake accounts to claim said rewards and drain the advertiser’s budget. Another way this hurts the brand is by depriving real and interested users of the rewards meant for them. When this kind of fraud happens on a large scale, many users don’t get what they are promised. This can deeply hurt the brand’s image and reputation and even turn away some users for good.

Unsafe Ad Placement

Most everyday users on the web don’t realize that brands have little direct control over where their ads are being displayed. That’s why, when a brand’s ads appear next to objectionable or extremist content, it can cause serious damage to its reputation.

One of the most famous real-world examples of the same is the Applebee’s ad controversy. CNN played Applebee’s Dancing Cowboy campaign ad in the middle of a report on the Russia-Ukraine war. The viewers did not find this acceptable, and both brands faced serious backlash.

Similar situations have played out online for several brands.

Infringement Attacks

Infringement attacks by fraudsters pretending to be representatives of a legitimate brand are also a growing threat to modern brands’ safety. While impersonation on social media is one of the most common instances of infringement attacks, fraudsters use more sophisticated ways to commit fraud while pretending to be a brand that thousands trust. Phishing attacks and domain spoofing are just a couple of the many such tactics employed by fraudsters to scam users who trust a brand.

This can cause permanent damage to a brand’s reputation. This damage isn’t just limited to those who have fallen victim to these fraudulent activities. If news breaks out, it can negatively influence the trust of thousands of existing and potential customers.

How To Create a Strategy for Growth and Safety?

As mentioned earlier, there are actionable steps that marketers can take to protect their brand’s reputation. Let’s look at some of them:

Validate Your Ad Traffic

Ad traffic validation, as the name suggests, is the process of ensuring that your ads are not falling victim to fraud. It also ensures that your ads’ clicks or impressions come from real human users, not bots or click farms. Ad traffic validation can ensure ad fraud activities do not threaten your brand’s safety.

Keep A Check on Your Ad Placements

Advertisers must also make efforts to ensure their ads are not being displayed next to questionable or extremist content. By placing validation tags within the ad markup, advertisers can analyze the content of the websites where their ads are being displayed. This enables the blacklisting of problematic websites and allows advertisers to maximize the impact of their campaigns without putting their brand reputation in jeopardy.


Threats to brand safety are becoming increasingly evident and there are growing concerns amid advertisers. Such threats have become so prevalent that simply building awareness of them and how to combat them can provide advertisers with a competitive advantage against unsuspecting competitors. By taking simple steps such as validating ad traffic, tracking ad placements, and instances of infringement with mFilterIt, marketers can ensure their brand reputation remains protected during its growth journey.

Get in Touch to know more about the Brand Risk.


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