Why Pre-Bid Filtering Is The New Key To Your Brand Safety Efforts (Even If It Sounds Like More Confusing Ad Industry Jargon)

on The Future of Advertising, Programmatic Native

The words brand safety seared themselves into the ad industry’s consciousness when pre-roll ads for major brands started showing up before offensive UGC on YouTube.

As an established industry product however, brand safety is a broad term generally referring to a set of services provided by verification companies like Integral Ad Science (IAS), DoubleVerify and others, to protect a brand from non-viewable, inappropriate, risky or otherwise objectionable placements.

There are three core types of brand safety products

1) Pre-Bid Targeting and Filtering — determines whether the placement is contextually appropriate and relevant for an ad before a bid is placed. Ads are only bid on and served if the inventory meets certain conditions set by the advertisers. Pre-bid filtering can be used to ensure contextual alignment or to prevent ads from appearing in environments not befitting the brand.

2) Viewability and Verification — is a measurement standard that tracks whether ads are in view and seen by real people. A priority for almost every advertiser, viewability is a measure of whether an ad had the potential to be seen by a user. Verification goes a step further than viewability by attempting to determine whether brands are falling prey to bots or other fraudulent activities, but also helps advertisers confirm that what they bought is what they got (geo targeting, etc.).

3) Ad Blocking — blocks ads from serving in objectionable environments after the ad has been bid on and won (or, in cases where a DSP is not being used to bid, when the ad is delivered). If objectionable content is detected, the ad blocker will replace the ad with a house ad or PSA, or call back to the publisher so the ad can go to a different advertiser. Ad blocking has been made all but obsolete by pre-bid targeting, yet some advertisers continue to use it, usually as a safety precaution.

Why pre-bid filtering is the smartest approach for your brand

Out of the three core brand safety offerings, ad blocking should definitely be discounted. Brand safety ad blockers work by “wrapping” creatives with javascript, which both scrapes the contents of the page and, if necessary, replaces the creative with the auxiliary ad. Because native ads are assembled from component parts, they can’t be wrapped with javascript. Ad blocking is not compatible with native ads and this is the case for all native ad companies.

Currently Sharethrough supports viewability and verification and we offer support for IAS, DoubleVerify and MOAT. We allow monitoring, where a 1x1 pixel is used to detect when and where ads are served, and tracking, where a javascript tag is used for impression and viewability tracking.

We’ve recently begun to offer support for pre-bid filtering and it has quickly become our recommended brand safety approach. As mentioned above, it determines if a placement is contextually appropriate and ads are only bid on if they meet certain pre-set conditions by advertisers.

Through this we’ve found that pre-bid filtering is as effective as any approach available while offering in three key advantages:

Most DSPs support it

It is compatible with native advertising

It does not typically have a significant impact on campaign delivery

To learn more about pre-bid filtering today -- reach out to your friendly neighborhood Sharethrough sales rep at sales@sharethrough.com