To achieve the highest level of Ad Quality, marketers have to crush all the obstacles in their way. As we’ve discussed already, the first big steps are solving for viewability—and then ensuring that those views are from real humans.
Once that’s done, marketers will start racking up real, validated impressions. But unless they’re on brand-safe, relevant sites, they may be doing more harm than good. This brings us to the third piece of the Ad Quality puzzle: brand safety.
When marketers hear “brand safety,” they may think about avoiding adult content. And that’s definitely part of it. But lots of content can negatively impact a brand, with different brands having different thresholds of what’s acceptable.
Consider the upcoming presidential election. The candidates’ combined digital budget is expected to be nearly $1 billion, more than six times that of 2012’s race. But in the wilds of programmatic, dangerous juxtapositions can occur—like ads from gun-safety advocates appearing on pro-gun sites, and pre-roll ads running before ISIS videos. These are not only harmful at impression time, but with a well-timed screen shot, they could be a PR disaster.
Programmatic platforms may be targeting the right consumer demos, and even the right consumers. But if they’re not taking placement into account, they’re not doing enough to protect brands. Which is probably why, according to an Undertone study, brand safety is the #1 concern of buyers of programmatic inventory.
As with the other Ad Quality issues, brand safety can be achieved with the right tools and knowledge. For instance, we have direct relationships with publishers, and works with them to confirm the brand-safety needs of their advertisers. And we use proprietary classification tools that combine computer vision and text-based analysis to understand web content on a deep level. That way, we can identify brand-unsafe content and build an index of webpages to block at impression time.
With access to direct publisher relationships and a deep understanding of content that drills down to the page level, marketers can be sure that their ads will appear next to not only safe content, but the best content.