Apr 28 2016
Basis Technologies

Have your cake and eat it too: adopting a brand safety approach that doesn’t cost you scale.


The calling card of programmatic advertising is reach, and marketers enjoy the ability to generate massive scale for their campaigns in a smart and data-driven way.  But if you poll marketers, what’s precluding them from an even bigger commitment to programmatic is a persistent concern around brand safety.  According to the IAB, nearly 1 in 3 marketers claim brand safety as the biggest inhibitor to increased programmatic budgets.

Centro DSP has a strong commitment to brand safety, and we employ a variety of first- and third-party technologies to ensure that ads that run through our DSP are safe for businesses and consumers alike.  At the same time, our focus is on making sure that campaigns are the most effective possible.  One of the recurring questions we get from customers is how to ensure the right equilibrium between safety and scale?

The good news is that such an equilibrium is possible. It requires making a few decisions ahead of a campaign, as well as an understanding of the objectives of the campaign.

First, you and your team need to agree on what level of risk you are willing to entertain.  For brand campaigns, awareness that is generated through scale might mean a higher risk tolerance than that for a direct response campaign, which is typically oriented around cost-per-action and return-on-ad-spend goals.

Next, you’ll determine which brand safety parameters are most important to you.  You’ll be able to take advantage of Centro’s integration with ComScore’s BidRatings solution, which enables pre-bid screening across a number of variables.  These can include things like viewability, invalid traffic, brand safety, contextual categories, page content and site rank.  And through our integration with Peer39, we also provide brand safety specifically within the mobile app environment.  Keep in mind that screening against many or all of these will reduce a campaign’s scale, so you’ve got to figure out the right tradeoffs between risk and reward.

Then, you can decide if you want to create a ‘block list’ or ‘allowed list’ – sites you want to exclude or include from the campaign.  Reasons to exclude may include things like questionable content, or competitor sites, or publishers whose content doesn’t agree with your brand, and many others.  An allowed list  (a short list of sites you only want to be on) can ensure a high level of safety for an advertiser, but this is one of the most reach-limiting tactics available. Our Customer Success team can provide a master block list, and we refer clients to the Pixalate Seller Trust Index to navigate trustworthy exchange sources.

Finally, once you’ve made your decisions, it’s time to let the campaign run, while keeping a close eye on performance once the campaign is live.  With Centro DSPs real-time performance reporting, you’ve got the ability to make course corrections on the fly if campaign reach is not where it needs to be.

The good news is that most brand safety technologies are easy to understand and to utilize, so in short order you should be able to precisely identify the right mix of safety and scale to meet your objectives.  Good luck!