What is Online Proofing?

A centralized feedback tool that makes collaboration on projects much more effective and precise.

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Online Proofing Software

Online Proofing Software, often called “review and approval software”, allows marketers to more easily share and collect feedback. It's a vast improvement over traditional ad-hoc methods such as email, printouts, or hallway conversations.

One of the many advantages that online proofing has over traditional methods is centralized feedback which makes collaboration on projects much more efficient and precise.

Read more: "The Ultimate Guide to Online Proofing"

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Everything You Need To Know About Online Proofing



It all starts with a piece of content - a design file, PDF, web page, image, etc. Files are uploaded to a secure server and then shared with a specific set of individuals. Settings can be leveraged to secure the proof to only known and authenticated reviewers.

When setting up the review group, the proof owner can identify those team members with decision-making roles so that decisions can be documented - a fundamental requirement for pushing projects to next steps.

See all the media types online proofing supports


Once a proof has been created and the reviewers identified, team members are notified via email and are able to access the proof. This ensures that all team members are reviewing the same content in the same context.

It also eliminates the risk of file types not being compatible, resolutions causing issues or file access excluding team members.

Read more: "3 Steps To Getting Team Members to Break Ties With Legacy Review & Approval Tools"


From there, reviewers can collaborate within the content itself providing comments, replies to comments and marking up specific areas of the content for precise and actionable feedback.

It’s this precision of feedback which helps cut down on miscommunication, time loss and even rework due to missed feedback.

Read more: "8 Best Practices for Sharing Marketing Content Between Internal & External Reviewers"


Notifications can be set to alert team members of new comments being made, as well as any decisions made on a proof. From there, a new version can be created and compared - down to the pixel level - to previous versions, so that team members can verify the required changes were made.

Read more: "Five Signs Your Marketing Team Needs Online Proofing"


Who Uses Online Proofing?

Marketing teams - within both agencies and brands - use online proofing applications to streamline the review and approval process for creative content. In many cases, agencies and their brand clients use the system collaboratively, sharing and collecting feedback in real-time. Attempting to do this over email could quickly lead to miscommunication and missed feedback, which contributes directly to missed deadlines.

From small, specialized teams to the largest global organizations, marketing companies of all sizes benefit from online proofing. The higher volume of content being produced, the increased number of people involved in the review/approval process and the more compliance in place, the greater the benefits of online marketing. 

Read more: "Five Signs Your Marketing Team Needs Online Proofing"


Why Online Proofing is Superior to Email as a Feedback Tool

Online proofing applications are more advantageous than email, as they allow for feedback to be provided directly on the content being reviewed. This contributes to:

  • Greater clarity and visibility into the review and approval process
  • Improved status tracking
  • Better collection of feedback and collaboration
  • Stronger version control and version comparisons

Read more: "Bring Content Into Your Creative Production Workflows (Without Email)"


Online Proofing Can Help Organizations Save Money

A significant portion of any creative organization's budget is typically personnel - full-time, salaried employees, part-time employees and contractors. According to the recent In House Creative Industry Report, 86% of creative leaders planned to at least maintain, if not grow, their freelance hiring plans. 60% indicated that there were no term limits in place for freelancers.

Online proofing can demonstrate, almost immediately, tangible cost savings. This is true as it relates to the reduction of contract personnel, but also to the avoidance of unnecessary costs such as rework that may arise due to errors and poor quality control, and/or tactical costs such as printing.

Read more: "Online Proofing Might Be the Quickest Win in MarTech"


Online Proofing Can Help Organizations Prove Marketing Compliance

Within the marketing resource management landscape, Gartner attributes the majority of their client inquiries to requests for creative production management. This is mainly due to interest in the marketing compliance review process; managing and tracking collaborative reviews and approvals with annotations in one system. This is often driven by compliance requirements, both externally and internally.

Read more: "Marketing Compliance: What It Is & How It Affects Your Role"


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When considering the core benefits of implementing an online proofing solution, it’s important to also factor in the impact of the status quo. The impact of leaving inefficient processes unchecked can have significant opportunity costs associated with them, which could potentially stunt long term growth.

Online proofing has been called “the quickest win in marketing technology”, mainly due to the ease of implementation and internal adoption of focused, best-of-breed offerings. As discussed herein, there are long-term, tangible benefits to driving greater efficiency in marketing organizations. For more information on Ziflow’s approach to online proofing, you can visit our product page or contact a product specialist to get further information.

Online Proofing Resources:


What To Look For In An Online Proofing Solution


Commenting and markup capabilities

The ability to make comments and perform markups to pieces of content is an absolute requirement for an online proofing solution. Comments and replies should be easy to make and markups should be as simple and straightforward as using PowerPoint or Google Sheets.


Version comparison and control

An online proofing system should make it easy to create new versions of existing proofs, while at the same time, facilitating the comparison of versions on a single screen. This helps to verify requested changes were made, as well as see progress made across versions. Another requirement is that the comments of each version be maintained for informational and audit purposes.


Comprehensive file support

Given the explosion of marketing channels, your online proofing system should support the review of a wide range of file types across design files, static content, website pages and rich media such as audio and visual files. This allows for multi-channel campaigns to be reviewed simultaneously within the same system, avoiding time-sinking context switching between apps.


Integration capabilities

An online proofing system should work with your existing and planned technologies, such as project management, DAM, and chat. This will not only increase overall productivity, but also allow for faster internal adoption of the online proofing system.


Security and continuity

Rigorous security standards are essential, both in terms of content accessibility, as well as the infrastructure of the web-based technologies being utilized. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Review group member authentication
  • Proof download administration
  • Encryption at rest
  • Disaster recovery
  • Support and up-time SLAs

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