Login is restricted to DCN Publisher Members. If you are a DCN Member and don't have an account, register here.

Digital Content Next


InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

How one publisher won the brand safety battle

November 5, 2018 | By Alynn Beyder, Senior Product Marketing Manager – IAS @integralads

You only have to open your Twitter feed or scan the latest headlines to know that it’s a perilous online climate for brands. A volatile news cycle means it’s increasingly hard for marketers to find  brand safe inventory to carry their ads. Even premium publishers are running news content that some audiences may find controversial with increasing public pressure on brands to display social responsibility.

For publishers who traffic in newsworthy, attention-grabbing, informative content this presents a challenge and an opportunity. Every brand has different sensitivities, and content that could be anathema to one might be pure gold to another. However, in this complex climate, publishers need to carefully consider how to grow their revenue and maximize the value of their inventory while delivering the news their readers expect along with the brand safety marketers need. New research points to a solution.

Finding an Optimal Balance

A new study from Integral Ad Science and a major media publisher found that IAS publisher data could be used to manually optimize placements to target inventory that met advertisers’ strict brand safety standards. This tactic allowed the publisher to secure inventory suitable to a major technology advertiser and unlock the value of its young tech-savvy audience. To make the process scalable to other advertising partners the publisher used IAS’ publisher optimization tools to target desirable inventory without increasing the size or workload of its publisher-optimization team.

Automating delivery and prioritizing serving ads adjacent to content that matched the advertiser’s specific brand safety needs resulted ina dramatic decrease in wasted impressions. Previously nearly 7% of all campaign impressions had been deemed too risky for this specific brand. After implementing and inventory optimization strategy guided by IAS verification data, that result fell to just 0.2% of all campaign impressions, allowing the publisher to recover substantial revenue, meet advertiser expectations more efficiently, and increase the total value of its premium inventory.

Publisher Priorities

Although brand safety is an industry-wide problem, it has fallen heavily on the shoulders of publishers alone to solve. Increased attention to the issue, driven by the tumultuous news cycle and a tense political climate, comes at a time when many publishers are seeing their revenue squeezed in other ways, leaving little margin for error.

With the duopoly consuming an ever-larger share of total digital advertising dollars, it’s become critical for publishers to maximize the value of their inventory to ensure a healthy bottom line. More importantly, the long-term health of a media publishing business depends on securing the trust of major advertising partners and meeting their inventory quality needs consistently and efficiently.

For some publishers, meeting the challenges of brand safety has meant sanitizing content or allowing advertiser demand to override editorial judgment. This remediation has created unnecessary tension between sales and editorial teams forcing publishers to choose between quality and revenue. Optimization tools can help publishers to better understand their own inventory by mapping impression delivery to ensure that unique advertiser needs are met without compromising content quality. For publishers to succeed, a resolution that benefits both advertisers and the end consumers is key.

Liked this article?

Subscribe to the InContext newsletter to get insights like this delivered to your inbox every week.