The Leading Ad Network (“Network”), at the forefront of the rapidly growing ad tech industry, had identified the need for a new URL database that would provide more granular support for web content categorization to address IAB™ requirements. As part of this process, the Network had also stated its objectives as improved inventory vetting, more effective ad placement and improved brand safety standards.
Leading Ad Network vendor with over 1 billion impressions monthly (“Network”)
Linux server “on disk” implementation by Network
“To drive growth and address new industry compliance initiatives, we needed a simple-to- integrate URL database solution that met IAB’s Tier 1 and other category requirements, as well as provided exceptional performance and aggressive CPM-based pricing due to our very high URL query rates.”
– CEO, Network
The Challenge: Improved Effectiveness of Ad Placement
The Network was a pioneer in the ad tech industry; however, customers were requesting improved ad placement effectiveness, particularly for highly dynamic websites with constantly changing content which were increasingly being targeted by advertisers.
Further, the dynamic nature of these types of websites made them particularly attractive for attackers, so the Network was also faced with the need to improve brand safety with malicious and phishing detections. These problems include:
- Ad inventory needed to be vetted in light of new IAB compliance requirements.
- Granular taxonomy for a broad range of category lookups for URLs being targeted for ad placement.
- Ad placement on objectionable or sensitive websites – as websites become more and more dynamic, with content changing more frequently and sometimes continuously, the Network’s ads were increasingly being placed on websites with inappropriate content and targeting the wrong audience.
- Malicious websites – the worst case scenario, where the website with the ad actually hosted viruses and spyware, which raised serious customer and branding concerns.
- Lack of verification – the Network’s database of websites did not provide the extensive coverage nor accuracy required to provide an acceptable level of verification.
The Network recognized that, in order to meet compliance requirements, improve ad placement, protect its brands and continue to grow its business, it needed to significantly improve the URL content database used for ad placement, verification and reporting.
“Our existing database and systems simply weren’t designed for today’s Web. In addition to developing new campaign management tools, we needed a database with broader and deeper coverage of the Web, that was able to keep up with continuously changing content of the most popular websites, and that could eliminate ad placement on infected sites.”
– CEO, Network
The Solution: Implementing a URL Content Classification Database
Once the Network made the decision to implement a new URL content classification database as part of its systems upgrade, it conducted an evaluation process of several vendors using the following criteria:
- IAB Compliance – category support for the IAB Tier 1 and other categories defined by IAB.
- Coverage & Accuracy – an evaluation of the vendors’ URL database coverage and accuracy for over 10,000 URLs identified as missing or inaccurate in the Network’s existing database, as well as other randomly selected URLs from the Alexa™ top 100,000 list.
- Website Revisit and Recategorization – a test was performed to determine how often the vendors revisited websites with changing content and updated their database.
- Malicious and Phishing Detection – an evaluation of the vendors’ coverage and detection abilities of malicious and/or phishing URLs was performed, using a range of internal/external sources for websites identified as hosting spyware, malware or other threats.
- SDK Performance – the vendors were asked to prepare SDKs for the Linux Debian environment utilized by the Network, with the evaluation focusing on the ability of the SDK to support the required peak-hour URL query volume.
Upon completion of the evaluation, the Network selected zveloDB™ as the clear winner.
“We really liked a number of items with the zvelo offering. The alignment and support for the IAB categories, very fast performance for our high volume of URL queries, CPM-based pricing model, ability to dynamically update the zveloDB as content of websites change, as well as the coverage and accuracy for social sites and the very strong coverage for malicious, phishing and objectionable sites convinced us that zvelo was best able to address our database requirements and help us strengthen our offering.”
– CEO, Network
The Network finished the upgrade of its campaign management systems, including the integration of the zveloDB, enabling automated categorization of new ActiveWeb* sites.
Network’s Web Filtering in Action
The Network integrated the zveloDB and immediately saw improvements in ad inventory vetting, better coverage, improved monitoring and reporting, and ad placements which aligned with IAB industry guidelines, as well as brand safety and reputation standards for its clients.
zvelo’s ability to harness the collective web activity of all of the users of the zvelo customer base provides the basis for the extremely high coverage and dynamic changes of the ActiveWeb*. Each additional user increases the breadth of ActiveWeb sites visited and categorized, thereby further increasing the coverage and accuracy for all of the collective users.
Ease of Integration
The Network required a simple and proven SDK that could be implemented on the Linux Debian version utilized by the Network for their Campaign 2.0 application.
“The zvelo SDK integration was very straightforward. zvelo prepared a Linux Debian SDK tailored for our specific needs and we had excellent engineering support throughout the integration and subsequent go-live.”
– Director of Development, Network
Benefits of zveloDB
zveloDB’s 99.99% coverage of the ActiveWeb sites visited by users combined with zvelo’s AI-based web content categorization platform provided the Network with significantly improved ad placement effectiveness and increased overall brand safety for its clients.
The Network was able to make much-needed improvements to its ad campaign verification, ad placement and reporting. Further, the upgraded Campaign 2.0 systems cut down dramatically on the customer and brand issues that the Network had been experiencing.
“The zveloDB has been an important part of the overall improvements we have experienced with our upgrades. We have been able to successfully address the issues we had identified and are well positioned to continue our growth and efforts to become the leader in the ad tech industry.”
– CEO, Network
*ActiveWeb – those websites visited by actual users.