Horizon Integrates Trust Metrics: Will Buy Sites Based On Being Good, Not Bad

by , Sep 28, 2011, 9:00 AM
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Horizon Media, the largest Independent media services shop not owned by one of the major agency holding companies, is integrating a new system for evaluating the way it makes its online media buys, giving the agencies digital planners and buyers the ability to predict which websites and ad networks will create the best environment for its clients advertising messages. The system, Trust Metrics, utilizes an array of tracking and measurement technologies, as well as the editorial point-of-view of a team of analysts who essentially rate the impact website content can have on brand advertising adjacencies - from big portals to the long-tail, and even social media.

While other big media shops have been working with Trust Metrics, Horizon is the first to integrate its website ratings data into its entire digital planning and buying system, says Mary Shirley, vice president-digital media activation at Horizon.

Shirley says the Trust Metrics data goes beyond other so-called "brand safety" filters that Horizon also works with, because they are generally "reactive," flagging inappropriate content on a website only after an advertiser's ads appear there. The value of Trust Metrics, she says, is that it enables Horizon's planners and buyers to predict the relevance and appropriateness of a Web site's content for a brand, even if it's a long-tail site that the agency has never worked with before.

That's because Trust Metrics utilizes a variety of "semantic" filters that were created and are overseen by former editors trained to understand the impact of editorial content on brands.

As technologically automated as that process may be, Shirley said Horizon's planners and buyers will utilize it as part of their tool chest, applying their own perspective and insights about their clients' brands and ad messages to the ratings.

"This will allow agencies to focus on what will be a good thing for brands and brand advertising, vs. what is bad," says Andy Lerner, CEO of Trust Metrics, who says the system has already been tested and vetted by some other major shops, including Interpublic's McCann Worldgroup, Publicis' Hill Holliday, and MDC Partners agency trading desk Varick Media Management.

1 comment on "Horizon Integrates Trust Metrics: Will Buy Sites Based On Being Good, Not Bad".

  1. John Mustin from Wasabi Rabbit
    commented on: September 29, 2011 at 12:13 p.m.

    Happy to see Horizon Media embrace the industry effort to improve clients' online brand reputation initiatives. They're in good company.

    I'm a firm believer in making positive brand reputation a priority in our clients' creative executions - as well as in the selection of the specific channels and placements that ultimately get their messaging to the masses. But their are many moving pieces in this puzzle, as any planner, whether account or media, will tell you.

    Today we have technology to support our efforts across the industry, such as semantic filters (and other automated systems), which help safeguard ads from appearing on inappropriate and/or irrelevant sites. But industry media planners need to consider those tools as a supporting part of their toolkit rather than the ultimate answer, lest we make inappropriate mistakes and blame an algorithm...

    But integrating Trust Metrics is a great start to the process. Good for Horizon.

    John Mustin
    President
    Wasabi Rabbit

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