Set up an account in Google Ads, and you'll be faced with an important decision. Will your promotions run only on Google? Or will you allow Google to sprinkle them among so-called partner networks?
If you accept partnerships, know this: Your ads might appear next to content that is far from ideal. And while this isn't your fault, consumers will blame you and you alone.
Let me give you a worst-case example.
At the end of 2020, news of a Nashville bombing broke. As I dug into reports about the attack, it became clear that the perpetrator used an RV filled with explosives.
Here's the cringe-worthy part.
Many of the websites I looked at also held advertisements for RVs. Some ran with text saying something like, "You could also own an RV!"
(Note: I don't believe in public shaming, so I am not including screenshots here.)
So what can you do?
I always encourage my clients to think long and hard before running ads on partner sites. It's nearly impossible to control where your content appears if you turn over ads to Google.
Exclusions can help. You can tell Google, for example, that you don't want your ads to show up on adult-only sites, and you refuse to allow your ads to appear next to content that is violent or otherwise objectionable.
But these steps don't offer complete protection. As my RV example makes clear, even content that seems benign can become dangerous at any moment. And no one wants to watch over their sites around the clock with no breaks.
But remember: If you do run on partner sites, you will need to watch around the clock. And you'll need to spring into action when you see problems like this to protect your brand.