Accidental Ad-Blocking: The Brand-Safety Snag that Advertisers Can Fix

A brand-safety technology snag that many advertisers don’t know about.

In an age of fake news and online content that jeopardizes legitimate advertisers, brand-safety tools have never been more important. However, when it comes to ads that brands want to publish on the web as well as in-app, there’s a brand-safety technology snag that many advertisers don’t know about — and it’s costing them in-app impressions.

Think of it as accidental ad-blocking. In the sections that follow, let’s unpack what’s causing this ad-viewability disconnect and then highlight two ways brands, agencies, and publishers can address the challenge, helping to solve it system-wide.

Ad-Blind: How and Why Accidental Blocking Arises
The brand-safety snag arises from the difference between web-based content and in-app publishing. Namely, desktop and mobile web both use established ad-serving technologies (i.e. JavaScript ad tags) and mobile apps use an SDK-delivered ad experience.

When it comes to web-ad units in a self-service programmatic environment, the advertiser sets its data target, its wanted frequency, a budget, the inventory it wants to target, the creative it wants to use. The advertiser also decides what kinds of places the ad will appear — what defines a brand-safe environment and what third-party ad-verification partners they’ll use. These verification partners have invested significant resources to build technology that breaks through the ad unit’s inline frame, analyzing the context of the page (i.e. URL, text, images, and the like). If the brand-safety settings of the advertiser are met, along with other targeting criteria, a demand-side platform then bids on that eligible inventory.

The mobile in-app ecosystem doesn’t use the same ad tech to deliver ads, however. More importantly, the technology that analyzes the context of a web page can’t do the same for in-app publisher pages. And so, in this mobile universe, app publishers can’t look at the contextual details of an app page in the same way they look at the web.

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Tyler Johnson is Director, Programmatic Sales and Strategy, Verve.

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