I’ve recently been writing about growing the value of online ads by creating scarcity and why verified ad impressions are important. Today I was dive into what makes a brand-safe environment as that doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.
Last March 20th, comScore published an article relevant to a larger research initiative they’re working on that spelled out how an average of 72% of all campaigns run ad impressions on inappropriate sites or content. This is a large figure: 72% of all campaigns run in inappropriate environments. However, Dr.Magid Abraham’s presentation at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting also stated that 14 or 18 campaigns measured (probably in this same research project) reported ad impressions in “inappropriate” environments 0,01% of the time. So even if most campaigns have “straggler” ad impressions that show up at the wrong place, the actual volume of these wrongfully targeted ads is rather small.
That number is small because most online adserving and optimisation tools incorporate white and black listing options.
Several players in this industry, like DoubleVerify are putting out tools you can plug into your adserver, whether you’re an ad agency, publisher or ad network, to build into your campaigns parameters that will identify the contextual content on the page where your ad is requested to be displayed. That identification is to see if it lines up with the content types you’ve “white listed” or “black listed” for a particular client / advertiser, brand or campaign more specifically.
White listing is the process by which you would select any and all environment types / content types you deem “safe” for your brand. Using white listing means your campaigns will ONLY be displayed against this type of content and never on any other environments. Black listing is similar although here you’ll identify those environments you do not deem “safe” for your brand. Using black listing to deliver campaigns will “block” ads from appearing against environments you’ve deemed “unsafe.”
Depending on your brand, the breadth or content or environments you deem “safe” can be either quite limited or quite vast. If you are extremely restrictive as to where your ads can show up, then white listing is the way to go. If on the other hand there are but a few types of environments you judge as not being safe for your brand, then black listing is the simplest solution for you.
You can also use a mix of both white and black listing, but you’ll need to carefully map out what’s what in which list to avoid running into a situation where one cancels the other out for some reason.
What does brand-safe mean? It can mean contextual environments that are aligned with your brand’s values. It can mean avoiding unsavory content like pornography and piracy. It might mean for you to avoid forums and blogs where you brand might be discussed negatively. It could mean running your ads against an audience that is old enough (or even legally old enough) to buy & consume your products. It might even mean have your ad show up in the appropriate geographical regional where you operate, serve or are allowed to…
Brand-safe means something different for each brand according to each brand’s parameters, market and intended clientele.
What else can “brand-safe” mean for your brand?