Some tools to help keep your brand safe online (and also avoid feeding the bots)


Nobody likes firefighting (except, perhaps, actual firefighters?). Advertisers and media buyers are no different. While ensuring your brand or the brands you work with are protected during online ad campaigns has long been vital, in recent months the issue has really come to the fore once more (to say the least). When potential issues can include placement of your brand on sites or beside content that could be damaging to it, fraudulent sites with bot traffic wasting your precious budget, or simply appearing beside content that isn’t contextually relevant, it’s important that you work with the right vendors and tools in order to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness of your ads. With this in mind, we’ve highlighted some tools we believe are definitely worth your while looking at when planning your next digital campaigns, that can make your life a whole lot easier.


When it comes to validation of digital media, DoubleVerify is a particular favourite and a pretty comprehensive tool. Authenticating the quality of every digital impression that your ad can bid for (before you part with your cash), DoubleVerify will help you make sure that (a) impressions are brand-safe, (b) are fully viewed and (c) are served to the right (i.e. human) eyeballs. Metrics are delivered in real-time, meaning you can keep apace of whether you are purchasing valid impressions at a moment’s notice.


Another very useful tool for guaranteeing brand-safety and impression authenticity. Some of the aspects that Peer39 caters to include contextual targeting, site auditing for safe advertising, viewability, traffic validation and mobile app targeting amongst many more. One great feature on offer is the ability to map topics to particular URLs, thereby giving you the option of targeting people when they’re engaging with specific subject matter. Effective, dynamic reviewing of ever-changing available content is a tricky task to get control of, but Peer39 provides a great solution.

comScore Content Activation

Released in the latter half of 2016, comScore’s Content Activation product allows media buyers and advertisers to better ensure that their ads reach more relevant target audiences in suitable contexts. Through analysis of page content and user behaviour, comScore can put together a better picture of a potentially appropriate content through the generation of detailed criteria, helping advertisers reach the right people across the right kind of sites. After building out placements with these criteria as their basis, advertisers can then integrate these into their DSP quickly and easily. This ensures that targeting via appropriate context is easy for you.


Similar in purpose to comScore’s offering above, Grapeshot helps makes sure you can target audiences via the right content. By constantly monitoring and auditing sites, their content and user behaviour, Grapeshot gives advertisers the ability to recognise which sites are most aligned to their brands and therefore worth targeting. Not only does this mean you’ll likely engage with the right audiences, but being seen alongside complementary content will assist in protecting your brand’s aura.

With the ever-growing importance of ad verification (and ever-imperative brand safety), you can expect this area to increase in the number of competing offerings going around. However, we feel the tools mentioned above are well worth checking out when planning your next online campaigns and will certainly help prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, wondering if your brand is safe and sound or whether bots are eating all of your money. With these tools, you can sleep easy.

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Eight things to consider when choosing a sync-and-retarget advertising partner

Jigsaw pieces

Earlier this month we published a piece in VideoNet giving advice to advertisers and media buyers on what they need to know when choosing a sync-and-retarget partner.

Check out the piece here.

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Ads viewability won’t solve the ‘viewed’ problem

The advertising industry is moving further towards setting a standard where ‘viewability’ of ads is concerned. That’s good news. But what does this actually mean for your ads, and the likelihood that they’ll be seen and remembered by your target audience? After all, this is the aim of the game. How far can purchasing viewable impressions go towards helping to solve the issue of getting views for advertisers?

Viewability & why it’s being worked on 

Kermit not seeing

There’s been quite a bit of chatter in the last several months about viewability in online advertising. Basically, it boils down to this: as an advertiser, you may be buying ‘served impressions’ for your campaigns, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity exists for your ad to actually be seen. Your ad, for example, might be served below the fold (so out of view) on a website, or on a fraudulent site where only bots will ‘see’ it, or sometimes if an ad-blocker is in use. According to a study run by Google in 2016, more than half of ads served online never actually got seen. The thing is, ads like these would still have to be paid for as served impressions on a display network. Marketers may well have simply flung half their budgets into a furnace. Recently, however, the problem has begun to be addressed by bodies like the IAB, ANA, MRC and 4A’s, with said organisations working with networks to try to settle on viewability standards. Meaning advertisers can pay for impressions that have a high chance of being seen.

The ‘viewed’ problem, and why it won’t be solved by viewability


So that’s all good news from an advertiser’s perspective, and helps them stand a better chance of having their ads engaged with. But it’s not a guarantee by any means. Having a high viewability rate for your ads does not necessarily translate into actual ROI. Ads, for example, can meet viewability standards but simply be overlooked, or seen but not recalled later. And it’s also possible that, with the adoption of viewability standards, publishers can often feel forced into cramming the upper section of a page with ad-space or face having served impressions that don’t result in monetization for them. This may mean advertisers having more trouble rising above the visual noise, grabbing attention and encouraging recall.

A few ways to deal with it

Long story short – viewable impressions matter and make sense, but are definitely not the end of the road where creating engagement and getting people to view ads  is concerned. Advertisers and media buyers need to remain aware that plenty of other factors remain hovering around, waiting to be given due consideration. Placement and creative type, for example, still matters – viewers scan sites a certain way, paying more attention to specific sections. Context and relevance should still be thought of – native advertising can work well here, and thoughtful targeting (e.g. accurate audience modeling) is irreplaceable. Using in-image or in-stream video can also help improve the chances of gaining the attention of your target audience. And don’t forget about the quality of the creative itself, of course! Ads themselves need to be well put-together and thought out if people are to find them eye-grabbing and compelling.

Seeing the bigger picture

Creating viewability standards is a step forward, but advertisers can’t fall into the myopic  trap of believing that paying for viewable impressions will solve all of their problems and result in waves of clicks and conversions. There’s more to a successful campaign than that and a bigger picture that needs to be looked at….viewed, if you will. 🙂

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