How can I keep my brand away from unsuitable adverts in the media?

The global advertising market is valued at $438bn (£282bn) with online campaigns forming the fastest growing segment of that market. Retailers are one of the biggest markets in terms of online spend. But online advertising is not a perfect science. With millions of potential sites for advertising to appear on, keeping track of those ads is a challenge.

Duncan Trigg, chief executive of content verification tool Project Sunblock, says: “The initial rounds of advertising can be controlled, such as big national media sites, but after that it becomes blurry. Advertisers lose control of where content is landing and increasingly it’s popping up in places where it shouldn’t.”

He believes, because online advertising has grown quickly, some key processes have been left by the wayside until now. “Gradually more and more strategy is being adopted to put an end to compromising situations.

Using verification tools – think of them as digital pasta strainers – advertisers can sieve through the enormous networks and block out sites if they don’t want to appear on them. This can be done on a predetermined basis or reactively.” With the recent horse meat issues, there have been examples of supermarket adverts appearing next to stories about how meat has been compromised.

It rarely happens in print versions, yet continues online. At best, these incidents offer little value for the campaign and, at worst, can be hugely damaging.

Trigg says: “Brands and their advertising agencies are going to have to start using tools to ensure their ads appear in the right places.”