Keeping Customer Trust in an Era of Brand Safety Concerns

It may take years for a brand to earn a customer’s trust, but it only takes minutes to lose it. An example of this is when a brand’s ads appear alongside extremist, hateful, or inappropriate content. Brand safety is not a new issue, but it’s one that’s on the rise — and it’s keeping advertisers awake at night.

In just the past two weeks, major companies all across the globe have pulled advertising spend or significantly limited display advertising because their ads have appeared next to undesirable content such as that containing hate speech, extreme violence, and other extremist content. In February alone, DoubleVerify reported that eight million ads were blocked from appearing on pages it classified as containing hate speech — up threefold from January.

Adobe’s Commitment
As a leader in digital marketing, we believe that we have an obligation to provide our customers with solutions that are secure, transparent, and in accordance with their values. In advertising, Adobe is committed to helping marketers achieve their goals without compromising brand safety, media quality, or transparency.

Digital marketers and advertisers are understandably worried. According to a recent survey conducted by Adobe Digital Insights, 58 percent of marketers report that their concerns about digital ad fraud have increased in comparison to 2016, and one-half of media buyers surveyed identified “media quality” as the biggest challenge facing the industry.

Enhancing Brand Safety Through Third-Party Integrations
With that in mind, today we’re enhancing our brand safety capabilities with the integration of yet another trusted third-party anti-fraud technology — Grapeshot. Grapeshot provides pre-bid filters that scan for objectionable content on a page before an ad is placed there. It joins Adobe’s existing third-party brand safety and fraud integrations with Integral Ad Science, Proximic, and White Ops to offer maximum brand safety for advertisers.

The Full Scope of Adobe’s Preventative Measures
In addition to these integrations, Adobe Media Optimizer demand-side platform (DSP), part of Adobe Advertising Cloud, provides customers with proprietary brand safety features, including automated tools to prevent ads from appearing alongside objectionable content and a manual site-screening process performed by a team of quality assurance specialists.

The full set of preventive measures Adobe provides for its customers’ protection includes:

  • Site- and app-level screening performed by a specialized team of experts who review quality and content, excluding any unsafe inventory (e.g., pirated content, malicious content, etc.);
  • Contextual targeting that enables advertisers to target only pages containing content that is relevant to their ads as well as exclude those containing certain topics;
  • Pre-bid filtering to proactively detect and prevent ads from being delivered on pages with objectionable content before the website or app loads — a crucial point because it proactively protects the brand’s image and prevents their ads from appearing alongside hateful and extremist material; and
  • Third-party brand safety and fraud integrations (noted above).

We’re also asking advertisers to put these features to the test by offering Grapeshot’s filters and other brand safety technology integrations at no cost through the end of June 2017. The technology is available on Adobe Advertising Cloud’s DSP across desktop video and display inventory.

Adobe’s focus is to do what’s best for marketers, and as such, our DSP automatically refunds purchase impressions identified as fraudulent by our partner White Ops. But, as Brett Wilson, VP and GM of Advertising for Adobe, notes, “making bot traffic immaterial is only one piece of the puzzle; contextual brand safety has always been equally paramount. We’re proud that the adoption of our brand safety tools is effectively protecting our customers from both.”

About Adobe Advertising Cloud
Adobe Advertising Cloud, which launched at Adobe Summit last month, is the industry’s first end-to-end platform for managing advertising across traditional TV and digital formats. The platform already manages roughly $3.5 billion in annualized ad spend on behalf of more than 1,000 global clients, including Allstate, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Liberty Mutual, L’Oréal, MGM, Nickelodeon, and Southwest Airlines. Learn more about Adobe Advertising Cloud.

This story originally appeared on the Digital Marketing blog.

Keith Eadie, VP, Advertising Revenue and Partnerships

Keith Eadie is VP, Advertising Revenue and Partnerships at Adobe. Keith joined Adobe via the company's acquisition of TubeMogul, where he was Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer. In his role, Keith leads the advertising sales and business development teams and is responsible for driving awareness of Adobe's independent, end-to-end advertising platform among media agencies, brand marketers and premium publishers. He joined TubeMogul from The Boston Consulting Group, where he specialized in developing marketing strategies for technology and digital media firms. Prior to BCG, he worked with TubeMogul in its infancy at UC Berkeley and collaborated with the founders to develop the initial business plan and marketing tactics. He began his career at HSBC as a portfolio manager responsible for U.S. and global technology funds. He received his MBA from UC Berkeley.

Keith Eadie, VP, Advertising Revenue and Partnerships