Where the issues of brand safety are concerned, the buck begins and ends with advertisers. Why? Because ultimately, agencies, ad tech and martech vendors, and publishers are all working for advertisers!
“I believe our industry needs more Marc Pritchards,” said Marc Goldberg, CEO of Trust Metrics, which works with advertisers and agencies to analyze publishers across the Web and mobile. “Advertisers are the key to getting this right. They’re the ones that are spending the money. They need to ask the right questions. Are they getting what they’re supposed to be getting? Their non-working media costs are rising.”
So what are advertisers to do? First off, they should be asking their agencies to do postmortems on campaigns and look at how all the digital media dollars were allocated, examining all the hidden costs, fees, and performance. They're looking to see what worked -- and what didn’t.
Goldberg said advertisers “need to start getting more engaged in digital and stop treating it as a rounding error.” In addition, more advertising leaders need to come out and set expectations for the industry and push hard for stakeholders to fix “the system.” (One might substitute “the system” for “the swamp.")
While The Coalition for Better Ads, a newly formed industry group, focuses on the user experience with advertising and ad blocking, its work is definitely related to brand safety.
Goldberg warned that if marketers don’t come out and tell stakeholders what they expect, publishers, ad-tech vendors, and agencies will continue with business as usual. However, if more marketers do come out with clear expectations, “Everyone will fall in line if they start putting these requests in,” he said.
Goldberg’s firm examines Web domains and apps for safety, quality, and fraud signals and uses the data culled from them to build whitelists for advertisers. He believes that human review is essential and a big part of brand safety, which many people don’t focus on.
What is human review? It involves reviewing the intent of Web domains. For example, do the words on a site actually mean what they say? Human review can double-check. Goldberg pointed out that analyzing domains is different from looking at individual pages.