[X+1] has launched Brand+1, a new tool aimed at helping media agencies make more informed buys across niche Web sites, ad networks and exchanges. The service allows agencies to build media plans that tap into the long tail, without the danger of having a brand-sensitive client's ad run against questionable content.
Brand+1 is bundled into New York-based [x+1]'s media buying and ad management platform, Media+1. Through Media+1, agencies have access to targeted buys that have been optimized for both price and relevance, and the addition of Brand+1 adds a layer of brand protection.
Over the course of several months, [x+1]'s development team sorted through millions of Web sites--including properties within comScore's Top 1,000 and sites monitored by Quantcast--to come up with a roster of brand-safe, long-tail buys. Brand+1 also accesses inventory from networks like Yahoo's BlueLithium, CPX Interactive and ValueClick.
Each agency account gets serviced by a representative who manually reviews every site that the ad is slated to run on. [X+1] also provides impression tracking reports, as well as detailed site inclusion and exclusion lists. According to Ted Shergalis, chief strategy officer of [x+1], Brand+1 serves as a "brand chaperone" for online media buyers.
"Sometimes they need a helping hand and another set of eyes to make sure that their brands aren't being exposed to negative content," Shergalis said. "Particularly amidst the complexity of niche and ad network inventory."
Shergalis said that the majority of niche publishers were ethical, but because a number of large brand marketers (and their agencies) had been burned by brand-damaging, opaque buys, the credibility of ad networks and exchanges as a whole had been tarnished.
"Many networks allow publishers to self report, and sometimes that leads to the inclusion of questionable content," Shergalis said. "A site that features adult content will be able to pull in more dollars under the 'entertainment' category than the 'adult entertainment' category. And if no one has monitored that site, then the media agency has a problem when the client spots their ad running against that content."
Shergalis said that Brand+1 would be an essential tool for buyers with clients that wanted to tap the long tail, but were reluctant to run high-volume campaigns out of concern for their brand's equity. Agencies including Digitas, Avenue A|Razorfish, Morpheus and Media Kitchen have already tapped [x+1] for its media management support services.