Web tool shows brands where their online ads are

A new ad-serving tool is to be launched that will allow advertisers to identify where their ads have appeared online and how long they have been viewed for – a tool many in the online ad industry will welcome after recent scrutiny from the media.

This week’s Panorama on BBC1 highlighted how ads can appear on sites that brands might deem inappropriate through so-called “blind networks”. Brands including BT, John Lewis, Orange, O2, Peugeot and eBay appeared on psfights.com, which shows street-fighting and “happy slapping” clips. Most advertisers say that they are unaware of their ads’ appearances on such sites.

PositiveFeedback des-cribes its new product, called PositiveAdserver 2.0, as a “new agency ad-server for blind network buying” and claims it is the first product of its kind available.

Incorporated Society of British Advertising marketing services manager Alex Ricketts says: “It is important to understand how the situation identified by Panorama came about. Advertisers did not intentionally place their ads on these inappropriate sites – any responsible advertisers would be appalled at the nature of the content – but until this point, there has been a lack control over where some ads end up, due to the way internet advertising is sold.”

PositiveFeedback founder Paul Cook says his product will help advertisers gain such control: “Blind-network buying is a very cost-effective form of online advertising, with tremendous opportunities for low-cost conversions. However, it needs to be managed properly with greater control for the user.

“We were already using this data as part of our optimisation algorithm and in the light of recent events decided to make a range of reports available for agencies that are keen to monitor where clients’ ads are placed. Our new system provides a transparent solution that gives advertisers confidence their ads are hitting the right targets.”

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