Affinity List Builder – a solution to the problem of Brand Safety

Programmatic Solution
September 20, 2019 / Author: Veroniсa Lihnis

How to protect brand image in the quickly changing digital environment? RTB automatically selects the websites for ad placement and their content is constantly renewing. Now advertisers can not control the place and the context their ads appear in, which is clearly a cause for concern. Here is the way to handle it: Affinity List Builder.

Though brand safety is a major issue on today´s digital marketing arena, there is no clear definition of what a brand safe placement is. Every brand has its own goals, values and perspectives on what is safe for them. Therefore the solution is not only avoiding obviously controversial topics, but ensuring content does not contradict the brand’s values. 

Advertisers must be vigilant about where they place their messages because one wrong move can result in a change of customer perception. Let’s remember the situation of 2017, when Mercedes-Benz, L’Oreal, McDonald’s, Audi, Disney and many other brands started pulling their advertising from YouTube after discovering that their ads were running against undesirable channels and videos.

The market has already invented several ways to deal with this burning issue. The advertisers may draw up a whitelist of websites to place their ads or develop a blacklist of websites to avoid. Another way is to identify the negative keywords and refrain from ad placement in the context with their usage.

All this may work, but there are some potholes on the way. It’s absolutely impossible to divide all the websites into relevant and dangerous at hand. 

As a programmatic advertising provider, we always consider brand safety issues when planning our advertising campaigns. Therefore, we have developed our own solution to the problem, which is called ALB. Affinity List Builder is a technology for URLs prioritization depending on their position in the organic search results.  Let’s be more specific:

● First of all, we collect quality key queries on the topic.

● ALB gets the website URLs corresponding to the selected queries (through the search API).

● It checks if the websites from the list have available advertising inventory. As a result, we have a list of websites with advertising inventory available for purchase in the same order as they appear in search results.

● It assigns priority to each URL depending on its position in the organic search: the higher site’s position is, the higher advertising bid will be.

As a result, the advertiser receives a number of advantages:

1. Advertising on the sites the client opens first. According to statistics, 70% of users view only the first page of Google search results. Usually the first positions in the organic search are credible and contain relevant content, which subconsciously affects users’ perception of the ad.  For example, users are more loyal to the ads on Forbes than on any unreliable site.

2. Brand Safety Guarantee Search engines are constantly changing their ranking algorithms to provide users with the best search results. Only the most relevant, high-quality and authoritative content should occupy a leading position. That’s why it guarantees that the ad will be surrounded by the safe content. 

Of course, ALB is not be able to give a 100% Brand Safety guarantee. But in conjunction with other tools, it gives 40% better results in quality indicators and can become a good insurance for the brand, improve the quality of the target audience and increase the final ad campaign results.