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.