Smadex’s best practices & guidelines for programmatic brand safety

Brand safety is a growing worry and constantly in the news as a hot topic, more often than not for the wrong reasons. There has been a seismic shift towards digital marketing: digital budgets have increased and media buying has moved to programmatic as consumer attention has shifted from the traditional media of print and TV to mobile, OTT, DOOH and desktop. But the rapid transition has caused some growing pains.

Only last year brands pulled ads from Youtube after finding their messages placed alongside extremist content. CMOs like Marc Pritchard of Proctor & Gamble have been vocal advocates for using increased transparency to address the issues of brand safety and viewability. The big internet giants reacted and implemented change, because after all, big budgets were at stake.

Programmatic advertising gives advertisers many options to reach large audiences at scale. It’s exactly for that reason that DSPs must implement ways to protect brands. At Smadex we have developed processes, integrated third parties, and added features that contribute to providing brand safety anywhere ads appear.

Smadex’s Brand Safety Best Practices

Certifications with industry trade bodies

One of the main growing pains in the programmatic media buying industry has been the lag in regulation and oversight. The industry has matured and there are now many ways to demonstrate compliance and cooperate with regulating bodies. Working with trade bodies and achieving certification via an audit provides concrete evidence that a company is committed to achieving a goal and supporting industry initiatives.

Smadex is a registered member of TAG (The Trustworthy Accountability Group) in the US and in the UK we are going through the process of verification with DTSG (Digital Trading Standards Group) and JICWEBS for brand safety. Smadex is also registered and on the path to achieving IAB Gold Standard which aims to reduce ad fraud, to improve the digital advertising experience, and to increase brand safety.

Third party solutions

Smadex has integrated the two leading brand safety solutions used by large media agencies and advertisers; IAS (Integral Ad Science) and MOAT. This means that Smadex can trade on a guaranteed viewability basis and support the leading industry solutions for brand safety. Smadex can also run Double Verify blocking tags..

Brand Safety Platform Options

-Transparency: The Smadex platform is real-time and delivers full campaign transparency. Advertisers can see where every impression lands and detailed performance data for optimisation.

-Algorithms: Smadex algorithms will trigger alerts if performance thresholds are exceeded, for example, high CTRs.

-Whitelists and blacklists: Advertisers can create or reuse whitelists for mobile websites or apps. This ensures ads only appear on specified publishers. They can also use their own blacklists, create new blacklists or use Smadex’s global blacklist to stop ads from appearing on specific websites and apps. Whitelists and blacklists can be specific by publisher and exchange or across all exchanges by using domain and bundle IDs.

-PMPs: Private Marketplaces (PMPs) allow advertisers to negotiate directly with publishers and agree on prices, volume, ad format, and placements. Working with controlled environments turns the focus on quality and reaching specific audiences. PMPs aleviate some of the concerns of Open Marketplaces (OMPs) and some advertisers now only operate in this model.

-Ads.txt: Ads.txt has cleaned up fake sites and significantly reduced reselling. It should be made into standard practice for all buy-side platforms enacting mobile site trades, as it verifies that all buys are legitimate or approved. But until then, Smadex voluntarily has adopted ads.txt as standard.

-High-quality publishers:  It goes without saying that using high-quality publishers helps to minimise the risk of ads appearing in low quality or non-brand safe environments. Which is why Smadex provides access to the highest quality publishers in the leading exchanges.

What’s clear is that brands need trust and reasurance that the platforms they are using to buy digital media will adopt best practices and utilize the best available tools to remove the risk of their ads appearing in the wrong environments. We believe that Smadex has succeeded in establishing a solid foundation of best practices and we are actively working with third parties to protect brands. When the industry moves in the same direction we will be able to collectively eliminate the bad actors and clean up the ecosystem that has been plagued with ad fraud and scams.


Smadex partners with MOAT to guarantee brand safety and viewability

We are excited to announce our new partnership with MOAT, to drive higher viewability standards and brand safety for mobile advertising campaigns. By using the MOAT SaaS platform, Smadex gains access to in-depth analytics and insights in order to maximize the value of campaigns for advertisers.

The digital advertising market now demands high standards for viewability from ad tech platforms. Working with MOAT, Smadex will be able to deliver and guarantee that ads are being seen by real human audiences and are always viewable.

For video advertising, this partnership now enables agencies and brands to trade using Smadex’s Cost Per Completed View (CPCV). The video trading model guarantees that each ad is seen by a human person and certifies each view as viewable by MOAT.

In addition to viewability thresholds, MOAT offers many “ATTENTION” metrics, such as dwell time, which go beyond measuring whether an ad is simply seen or not. These attention metrics improve digital advertisers’ ability to optimize towards engagement and more philosophically, take us one step closer towards creating some link yet to be determined between the industry and sales.

The MOAT partnership aligns with Smadex’s commitment to innovating towards 100% brand safety and will act as another layer to the platform’s existing brand safety efforts. Some of which are Smadex’s use of ads.txt as standard practice in all campaigns and working with whitelists and PMPs from the leading ad exchanges.

Smadex has already integrated Integral Ad Science’s (IAS) pre-bid and post-bid solutions, adding MOAT now gives Smadex users access to the top two leading independent platforms for viewability and brand safety.

See you at Cannes Lions?

It’s that time of year again that we look forward to: amazing parties on big yachts !
The Smadex management team will  be attending the very sunny Cannes Lions Festival again from Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd June.
If you are around in Cannes, why not arrange to meet us by contacting us directly or email
Cannes Lions

Publisher level bidding for improved performance and efficiency

All publishers are not equal on price. The price you are willing to pay for advertising inventory on publisher A is likely to vary from that of publisher B, and this is influenced by a number of factors including performance and perception. There the same principle applied to keyword bidding in the early days of PPC.

Publisher level bidding enables advertisers to set bid prices per publisher via the optimization report on the Smadex platform. The optimization reporting tool gives advertisers a powerful interface to interrogate campaign activity at the most granular level, and from there determine publisher level pricing options. However, with so many publishers, planning bidding strategies does take time to analyse in order to determine the most effective bids.

The advantage that publisher level bidding provides is increased bid level granularity, and that can translate into improved results and therefore likely to drive higher auction win rates. Also, by neglecting publisher level bidding, you could be overpaying for publisher inventory by using one price for hundreds of thousands of possible publisher options.

For performance campaigns, the increased visibility and control enables advertisers to set publisher level bid strategies and increase win rates at better prices therefore contributing to an overall better performance at lower cost. As an example, there may be one publisher that converts extremely well but has a very high floor price, so instead of raising your bid for all, you can set an appropriate bid for that publisher and channel your budgets into the places that work.

For brand campaigns, the concept applies, but enabling bidding at publisher level, advertisers can be a lot more efficient and effective with their advertising dollars.

In summary, publisher level bidding provides a more efficient buying strategy but requires analysis and time to determine optimum pricing levels to drives the best performance.

SpotX and Teads added to expand video programmatic supply

We are excited to announce that we’ve integrated with SpotX and Teads video ad exchanges to make their mobile video inventory available to buy programmatically via the Smadex platform. Both SpotX and Teads offer advertisers direct access to premium global mobile video inventory, including PMPs and direct deals. This adds to Smadex’s existing programmatic video buying options: Google, Rubicon, AOL, MoPub and Dailymotion.

Advertisers will now be able to access via Smadex the largest supply of mobile programmatic fully transparent video inventory across mobile apps and sites, using multiple video ad formats: pre-roll, native, interstitial, vertical, rich media and custom.

This gives advertisers looking to plan and buy brand safe premium high quality inventory using strong and engaging ad formats, massive reach and scale for their campaigns.