Brand safety is not a scalable solution. Brands looking to prevail must shift to brand suitability.

Digital advertising is an ever-changing, complicated, and enormous industry with global ad spend expected to reach $517 billion by 2023. As technology advancements are made, it quickly gets put to work in advertising. Definitely providing great advantages. However, sometimes the repercussions outweigh the benefits.  

One such case is the pursuit for brand safety. In efforts to protect brands from appearing in controversial environments, blacklists emerged. But, research has exposed the negative effects this tactic is having on all parties involved. 

Blacklists constitute of domains a brand has chosen to exclude as an advertising channel. Plus, keywords considered to be risky are being blacklisted as well. The IAB reports 94% of marketers use blacklists to tackle brand safety. 

The problem with this approach is that even though a single word can be considered unacceptable if used within the right context it can actually be completely innocent. However, context evaluation is not a common practice yet in advertising. Hence, top media owners are losing $3.2 billion a year across the US, UK, Japan, and Australia according to new research from Cheq. The blacklists can be quite extensive, including up to 3,000 words. 

On top of reputable publishers being penalized, advertisers are also hindering their reach and engagement. Brands have taken note of this horrifying reality and are evolving from brand safety to brand suitability,  the process of ensuring that the content surrounding a brand’s advertising fits with its values and marketing aims, which is focused on finding places suitable for their ads rather than avoiding inappropriate content.

Brand suitability is a far better approach. tribeOS knows it. The digital advertising platform offers many technology innovations that will aid brands in this effort. One fundamental feature is placement evaluation.  

tribeOS is currently working on a model with machine learning algorithms to evaluate websites and apps where ads will be served. To train the model, a dedicated team is manually reviewing every single publisher. This has three main goals:

  • To be able to evaluate the traffic coming from SSPs prior to bidding
  • To have more information to identify spam and junk placements to filter them out
  • To identify the correct IAB categories for placements to be used while bidding

The evaluation has two parts:

  • IAB Categorization Describes and classifies what the inventory is about. For example, educational, entertainment, news, etc. The IAB categories manually entered by the tribeOS team will be used while bidding allowing to serve the right ad, to the right people, in the right places
  • Scoring Commercial Intent – How likely is a user to buy. Placement scores are used to ensure bids for opportunities with quality placements. The score ranges are: 75-100 = excellent, 50-75 = good, 25-50 = average, 0- 25 = low, 0 = spam

The manual scoring team has revealed some alarming findings: not every publisher implements IAB categorization; and many that do are misclassifying their sites, also known as IAB category spoofing.  That alone is a great threat to advertisers. It risks their ads being served on wrong websites, to wrong users, wasting valuable ad dollars.

Now, circling back to brand safety and keyword blocking, recent research exposed ad discrepancy levels have increased by nearly 150% when keyword-blocking tags or brand safety wrappers are present. In a live website environment with multiple other tech also loading, the study identified that the delay of impressions caused specifically by keyword blocking wrappers was frequently in the 2.5 seconds to 4 second range.

It’s definitely something to put in perspective considering a Google research indicates that over half (53%) of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Especially since mobile ad spend is projected to hit more than $247 billion this year as 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet in 2019.

Brands need to leave brand safety tools like blacklists with the past decade and embrace the new decade with advanced technology solutions such as tribeOS. Brand suitability is the future of digital advertising.  

Interested in joining tribeOS? Sign a Letter of Intent and lock in a 5% discount for the first six months on every dollar spent. Fill out your details and take advantage of this opportunity before it expires.

Want to learn more? Book a free 15-minute consultation call with Director of Business Development  Mike D’Iorio today.

Make more money. Protect your ad spend. Advertise with tribeOS.

Matt Gallant

About Matt Gallant

I'm a seasoned, serial entrepreneur who’s built 13 profitable companies. My 20 years of advertising experience has prepared me perfectly for tribeOS. Over 8 million leads captured, over 13,000 marketing experiments performed, over $10 million spent on digital advertising, and over $40 million generated in online sales. My single-minded purpose is to create the most profitable advertising marketplace ever for advertisers and publishers.

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