Understanding how to apply ad verification tools to protect your brand equity was never more important than in 2020. Whether it was the global coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement or the unpredictable political climate, advertisers were forced to reevaluate their marketing strategies to ensure brand safe and suitable environments for their messaging. If we learned anything this year, we learned that keyword blocking alone does not work in today’s media landscape.
IAB’s Programmatic+Data Center convened a working group—comprised of 18 member companies, and co-chaired by Dan Slivjanovski, CMO, DoubleVerify, Tony Marlow, CMO, Integral Ad Science, and Shailin Dhar, CEO, Method Media Intelligence (MMI)—to create a brand safety and suitability guide for advertisers, agencies, and publishing professionals. The completed guide outlines concepts, definitions, tools, and transactional applications.
We recommend advertisers be conscious of their ad verification settings and employ a Revisit, Reset, and Repeat approach. By continually Revisiting settings, advertisers can protect their brand and know what content topics they want to avoid, allow, or even seek out. Advertisers should Reset their controls as needed, and Repeat these steps over time.
“Brand Suitability impacts all advertisers concerned with preserving the brand reputation and the digital advertising industry at large,” says Dan Slivjanovski, CMO, DoubleVerify. “Today’s toolkit enables brand suitability throughout the media transaction – from pre-bid avoidance to post-bid monitoring and blocking, and offers nuanced tools and settings, to help brands balance protection and scale. Ultimately, brand suitability is a process of continuous refinement and adaptation – especially during fast-evolving news cycles.”
Brand safety and suitability concerns are actually relevant to both buy-side and sell-side. “More than ever before, marketers are focused on the quality and efficiency of their digital advertising investments. Simultaneously, publishers want to maximize the yield from their content,” said Tony Marlow, CMO, Integral Ad Science. “This IAB guide tackles a range of topics from programmatic pre-bid controls to post-campaign analysis and smart packaging of inventory for publishers. This helps to provide a practical perspective on brand safety and suitability for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.”
Additionally, optimizing brand safety and suitability strategy is good for the bottom line. Shailin Dhar, CEO, Method Media Intelligence (MMI) emphasizes that “the programmatic ecosystem isn’t perfect. Ad verification and measurement are only as good as the data signals that are accessible at various stages of the ad-transaction. Pre-bid is focused on avoidance but has less data to decision on than post-bid. There’s still room for improvement in post-bid measurement, for example, even though post-bid safety controls are designed to filter out content that doesn’t meet an advertiser’s safety and suitability preferences, in many instances blocked ad opportunities still require a payment because the billing is done on the close of the bid. Combining pre- and post-bid filtering with post-campaign analysis can reduce long-term brand risk while preventing avoidable payments.”
For more information on this topic, please read our IAB guide: Understanding Brand Safety & Brand Suitability in a Contemporary Media Landscape.