Brand Safety: How Programmatic Partners Protect Our Clients’ Brands

By Brittany Altman in Industry News on March 31st, 2017

brand safety

At BKV we believe brand safety to be of the utmost importance both to us as an agency and to our clients. With the recent buzz around ad serving alongside controversial and derogatory content in the programmatic space, we compiled some of the responses we received from our top partners about how they are or will be addressing this issue.

Google Safeguards -- Current and Launching

Improved advertiser control launches have occurred and will continue over the course of the coming days and months. For example:

  • Classification improvements began on March 23, and are continuing
  • Three new granular Sensitive Subjects exclusions launched in AdWords on March 24, and in the next few weeks will be extended to YouTube Reservation/Google Preferred and DBM.
    • Sexually Suggestive
    • Profanity and Rough Language
    • Sensational and Shocking Content
  • Video-level reporting for Google Preferred and better account-level controls (beyond just placements) are scheduled for the first two weeks in April.
  • For a short term solution as Google continues to implement brand safety measures, using less granular brand safety controls, including blocking religion and news broadly can prevent serving next to controversial content.
  • Global enforcement and escalation processes have improved, resulting in a 2-hour TAT for flagged content.

Rocket Fuel Safeguards

Rocket Fuel rejects roughly 40 percent of impression opportunities as soon as they are sent by the exchanges. This is achieved through a global blacklist managed by a combination of:

  • Integral Ad Science Pre-bid brand-safety content filtering
    • Rejection Categories:
      • Adult Content
      • Alcohol
      • Hate Speech
      • Illegal Downloads
      • Illegal Drugs
      • Offensive Language
      • Violence
      • Pre-bid suspicious activity
  • Sizmek Peer39 Pre-bid brand-safety content filtering
    • Rejection Categories:
      • Accidents
      • Alcohol
      • Drugs
      • Gambling
      • Hate Speech
      • Mature
      • Negative News
      • Tobacco
      • Torrent
      • Weapons
  • A Brand safety team identifies new controversial content.
  • Ability to provide keywords for anti-targeting. General anti-targeting is implemented on all campaigns, but additional keywords can be added at the agency's request.

Media IQ Safeguards

  • Pre-Bid Brand Safety
    • Audited Domains – Individually audited by a team of specialists before consideration for ad serving.
    • Blacklist – Built from over two years’ worth of trading data populated by inappropriate content.
    • Pre Bid CVR Blocking – Using Integral Ad Science Brand Safety settings pre-bid.
    • Semantic Blocking – Using Grapeshot to create custom semantic segments which allow them to block. This can be used against standard categories as well as protect any specific business rules i.e. BT not appearing against negative content around them and their services. Page analysis determining both content and context to ensure brand safety.
    • Probabilistic Blocking – Using Grapeshot, Media IQ analyzes and categorizes billions of impressions in real time. This speed allows them to categorize all the URLs they see at the pre-bid level.
    • Whitelisting process:        
      • Download a list of all passed domains via CV Tools
      • Apply this domain list as a targeting parameter on a campaign level
      • Update this on a weekly basis with updated information from our CV providers
  • Post-Bid Brand Safety
    • Real Time Content Verification – Once a bid has been won, before ad serving, the text, images and links of the page are scored on a level of brand safety ranging from 1 – High inappropriate to 1000 which is deemed brand safe. Anything below a scoring of 999.9 is automatically blocked.
    • URL Keyword Blocking – Where real time content verification scans the content of the page as well as the URL for any inappropriate words, i.e. mp3, torrent, sexual references, terrorism, extremism, etc.
    • Integrated Real Time Blacklist – A blacklist applied on all campaigns, both at the Pre and Post Bid stage.
    • Multiple Iframe Blocking – Blocking of Iframes which are 4+ tags deep making it difficult for real time verification providers to read URLs and pages.

Quantcast Safeguards

Quantcast’s advanced proprietary algorithms, leading third-party vendors, human review, and management of a dynamic global blacklist containing more than 60,000 sites, work together to actively qualify individual websites and monitor and evaluate the inventory they buy to ensure brand safety.

  • Category Exclusions:
    • Pornography and adult content
    • Copyright infringement including piracy and torrent sites, MP3, MPEG and download sites
    • Criminal activities
    • Weapons
    • Violence
    • Extreme (politics and religion)
    • Racist or sexist content
    • Gambling
    • Malware / malware activity
    • Optional custom category exclusions are available at advertisers request
    • Optional third-party preventative ad blocking and ad verification companies

BKV Trade Desk Safeguards

The internal BKV Trading Desk uses partners such as Double Verify and Integral Ad Science to review the URL, page content, outbound links, and meta-data (keywords) to actively block content that is deemed unsafe at the pre-bid level.

In addition to the measures that our partners have in place, we have added a brand safety layer at the ad-serving level when we see suspicious activity or questionable performance (like a high bounce rate), and have added the negative keywords from our search campaigns to our blacklists.

Is your brand safe? We can protect it!

Contact our media experts today.