Jeff Finn, zvelo CEO, Discusses the Role of Content Categorization in Ensuring Brand Safety in CMO Innovation

The role of content categorization in ensuring brand safety

by Jeff Finn, CEO of zvelo

With the digital advertising industry increasingly shaped by programmatic ad buying, brands are realizing the necessity – from a brand safety perspective – of ensuring that their ads steer clear of associations with objectionable content.

*****The following article, by Jeff Finn, is featured on CMO Innovation‘s website and was originally published on September 19, 2017.brand safety - CMO Innovation

The big boycott

Just months ago, this issue infamously came to a head as prominent advertisers boycotted the Google Display Network and YouTube, bubbling out of fears that Google’s efforts to keep ads away from site and video content featuring hate speech and terrorist sentiments were frighteningly inadequate.

The effects of this backlash have been swift: MediaRadar recently reported that programmatic ad buys dropped 12% in Q1 2017 compared to the first three months of 2016.

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of P&G – one of the world’s largest advertisers by media spend – recently explained that the influential advertiser would focus on the responsibility that publishers should demonstrate, taking a “quality and craft approach” toward vetting the content where brand ads are displayed.

Pritchard and P&G are known for championing greater transparency within the digital media supply chain, which is being achieved thanks to the rise of measurement tools better equipped to effectively recognize and eliminate fraud and waste in ad buys.

Improving transparency

The value of improved transparency is staggering – P&G intends to reduce its marketing spend by $2 billion over the next five years, in no small part due to the improved ad quality becoming available. With the consumer goods giant now putting brand safety squarely in its crosshairs, look for the industry as a whole to follow suit and increase adoption of the tooling necessary to achieve transparency into exactly where ads get placed. The reputational damage risked when ads appear in juxtaposition with content that is inappropriate or out of line with the brand’s image has gotten too high.

The transparency that brand advertisers require can be largely accomplished through content categorization, a strategy that utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and human quality assurance to accurately determine the nature of web content. An advertiser going this route can have content datasets with categorical breakdowns of which web pages feature content on which topics and in which languages, so that brands can more acutely optimize their ad targeting.

Read more of the role of content categorization in ensuring brand safety.