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State of Brand Safety & Suitability in Video Download Now

Don’t Let Keyword Overblocking Kill Your Reach: Here’s What to Do

PUBLISH DATE: 11 August 2023
keyword overblocking

For advertisers, protecting their brand from inappropriate content is of utmost priority. When advertisements appear alongside harmful content, it has the potential to significantly damage the brand’s reputation. According to data, 54% of consumers hold a negative perception of brands that associate themselves with morally conflicting content.

This, in turn, can have a substantial impact on their advertising revenue, leading to decreased click-through rates (CTRs) for ad campaigns.

But, protecting your brand image does not equal being too restrictive with keywords or blocking keywords excessively as this can negatively impact your reach and represent a hugely wasted opportunity for both sides of the advertising ecosystem.

If your brand struggles to reach more people due to blocking too many keywords in the past, this blog is here to help. Keep reading to learn how you can avoid overblocking keywords and improve your reach.

How Keyword Overblocking is Killing Reach and Monetization Opportunities

Many advertisers employ brand safety measures to ensure their ads are not displayed alongside inappropriate content. A common example is a children’s brand ensuring their ads don’t appear next to adult-oriented material.

Another layer of protection often used by advertisers and agencies is keyword blocking. This allows them to prevent ads from being shown alongside content containing specific words. For instance, a family-friendly brand might block the keyword “porn.”

However, excessive keyword blocking can lead to a problem called overblocking. This can diminish the reach of your online ads and cause your ads to miss out on relevant searches.

Several reasons highlight why overblocking can harm your ad campaign’s effectiveness:

1. Missed Relevant Searches: Overblocking can prevent your ads from showing up for searches closely related to your target keywords. For example, if you block “free shipping,” your ads might not appear for searches like “buy shoes with free shipping.”

2. Reduced Relevance: Overblocked ads may appear for irrelevant searches, making them less appealing to the audience. This can lead to fewer clicks.

Finding the right approach to keyword blocklists doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. While some keywords (e.g., “terrorist”) are clearly necessary to block, an excessive list can overly restrict your digital advertising. This can lead to less effective spending and disappointing results.

Here’s How to Make Your Advertising More Inclusive

create more inclusive advertising

Of course, it’s important to focus our attention on brand safety. But as an industry, we need to think of new ways to implement brand safety without excluding creators based on their sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity.

The keyword blocklists that were relevant in the past might not be as effective today. Even though they needn’t be removed completely, you must regularly update them to avoid mistakenly classifying suitable content as harmful.

Ensure inclusion by amplifying preferred creators’ voices and carefully monitoring brand safety partnerships.

This final point is one we don’t see considered often enough. Working with a third-party brand safety and brand suitability partner can help with your brand safety measures.

how silverpush mitigates ad misalignment

Leverage the power of Silverpush, a leader in AI-driven contextual targeting, and its cutting-edge solution, Mirrors.

It offers custom targeting and exclusion themes to accurately identify unsafe content across a comprehensive set of brand safety categories. It ensures that only the unsafe video or page is blocked and not the entire channel or website to
Avoid over-blocking or killing reach.

This is done across multiple platforms, such as YouTube, Openweb, and Meta, using natural language processing (NLP) and semantic analysis.

Moreover, Mirrors’ Multicultural targeting approach ensures avoiding stereotypical assumptions and targets diverse audiences through inclusive and personalized ads that respect individual preferences.

It does not end here, Mirrors offers a multitude of capabilities, to know how Mirrors can effectively solve the overblocking problem and ensure your reach is uncompromised, fill out the form on your right and an expert from our team will contact you soon.

Last Words

In the advertising industry, it’s essential to embrace changes to brand safety measures to ensure that we are not excluding words, phrases or languages that could exclude minority groups. It’s time to move forward with your approaches to brand safety. When we do, we’ll be creating an online world that promotes positivity and inclusivity.

The Demise of Third-Party Cookies: Can AI Advertising Fill the Void?

PUBLISH DATE: 15 March 2023
AI-Powered Contextual advertising

As third-party cookies crumble, AI advertising is gearing up for its time in the spotlight – get ready for the rise of the machines in the ad tech industry!

The importance of third-party cookies can be well understood by digital marketers who rely on these small pieces of information to serve personalized ads to their audiences. 

The usage of user data without their consent or knowledge has sparked significant debates surrounding consumer privacy, with users, legislators, and companies all expressing concerns about the potential impact on individual confidentiality.

Although cookies have been valuable for advertisers and marketers, their usage is now being closely examined as users demand more control over their online data, and companies face increasing pressure to prioritize consumer privacy. Major web browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Safari have already banned third-party cookies, and Google Chrome will soon follow suit.

To navigate the post-cookie world, advertisers will need to explore alternative options like Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is likely to replace cookies. AI-powered contextual advertising has emerged as a powerful tool for innovation, with companies using it for management, robotics, and marketing.

What Challenges are Faced by Marketers Due to Third-Party Cookies?

Ad tech companies often use a technique called fingerprinting to track users and deliver personalized ads. Fingerprinting relies on third-party cookies to generate user-specific browser ID tags.

When a user accesses a website with a cookie-based ad, a tracking pixel embedded in the ad collects the user’s browser tag and sends it to the advertiser’s server. Ad tech companies then use this information to develop user profiles and track browsing history, purchases, and other personal information.

However, users often have little knowledge of what personal information is collected and have limited control over preventing unwanted data collection unless they manually disable cookies on their browsers.

Eliminating the Use of 3rd Party Cookies

third-party cookies timeline

As privacy concerns grow, more companies are opting out of using third-party cookies. Major web browsers like Safari and Firefox have already blocked cross-tracking third-party cookies, and Google plans to phase them out on Chrome by 2024 to address user demands for greater privacy, transparency, choice, and control over their data.

Advertisers, who rely heavily on third-party cookies for data collection, will be significantly impacted by this change and must find new ways to access similar sets of data.

The most comprehensive data regulation to date is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in 2018 within the European Union. It has set a high bar for data protection standards globally, as it emphasizes the importance of user consent and data transparency, putting greater control over personal data in the hands of users.

The Future of AI Advertising: Moving Beyond Third-Party Cookies

how contextual advertising functions

With the phasing out of third-party tracking cookies, advertising agencies are turning to contextual advertising as a strategy for targeting users based on their online experience categories, rather than behavioral advertising. Contextual targeting is being seen as a brand-safe, future-proof, and successful cookieless targeting option.

According to market data, the global contextual advertising market is predicted to reach $376.2 Billion by 2027, indicating the increasing popularity of this strategy. 

Companies worldwide are redirecting their marketing resources toward developing a strong contextual strategy to adapt to the changing landscape of digital advertising.

Statistics that highlight the importance of contextual advertising:

1. Context is so powerful that 49% of brand marketers are looking to contextual advertising to replace cookies.

2. 79% of consumers are more comfortable seeing Contextual than behavioral ads.

3. Between 2020 and 2027, contextual advertising spending is expected to grow 13.3 percent annually.

4. 49% of US marketers surveyed are using contextual marketing today.

5. In the UK, 32% of marketers use contextual marketing, while 36% use demographic targeting.

Silverpush Leads the Way in AI-Powered Contextual Advertising for a Cookieless Future

As the digital advertising industry transitions to a cookieless future, contextual targeting is emerging as a powerful solution for advertisers looking to engage with their target audience. 

Silverpush, one of the leading ad tech companies in the world recognized the limitations of third-party cookies years ago and developed their AI-Powered solution, Mirrors, which has been providing contextual advertising solutions on platforms like YouTube, OpenWeb, Meta, and CTV since 2012.

Mirrors use privacy-safe and contextual targeting solutions to deliver personalized ads to the target audience without relying on their data. 

What Makes Mirrors Unique?

working of mirrors

Mirrors’ AI-powered technology identifies ley contexts like celebrities, brands, objects, and other factors for more precise targeting. Its unique custom identifying capabilities ensure that reach is not duplicated, and a unified approach is used for content-aligned ad placement, brand safety, and custom brand suitability.

The ads are placed in a brand-safe environment and are relevant to the brand, ensuring a positive and effective advertising experience for both the advertiser and the audience.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Silverpush can help you prepare for the cookieless future and advertise successfully, fill out the available form on the right and our team will reach out to you.

Brand Safety: A Sure Shot Guide

PUBLISH DATE: 31 October 2022
brand safety guide

Study: Brand safety impacts 75% of companies, yet only 26% take action. Are you the one taking action?

The goal while advertising is clear: The brand must be protected at all costs! But the question is, how?

The different targeting methods used by brands on various platforms (YouTube, Social & OpenWeb) revolve around either using their data or keeping brands completely in the dark about where their ads are getting placed. The reason for this? The growth of programmatic advertising and dependency on behavioral targeting.

This has left brands under threat. How to ensure ad messaging does not appear next to harmful content online? How to protect brands’ credibility and their customers? 

Answering these major questions is this guide which delves deep into the topic of brand safety. Here, we will break down brand safety, and the different threats looming around it and lay down the protection measures to be followed for the success of brands in a fast-approaching cookie-less world.

Brand Safety Crisis – Where it All Began?

The first major brand safety disaster in the world of video advertising occurred in March 2017. The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, blacklisted YouTube after discovering its advertisements appearing alongside hate speech and extremist content.

As a result, major names like Toyota, Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, and Verizon withdrew millions of dollars in ad spending from YouTube.

For the first time, YouTube was dealing with both reputation and revenue damage. And it wouldn’t be the last time. Despite implementing remedial steps in 2017, 2018, and 2019, YouTube was still blamed for harmful brand exposure.

YouTube is not the only platform affected by the problem; marketers on Facebook and Twitter are also experiencing brand safety difficulties.

Brand Safety issue on Youtube
Ads pulled from YouTube by big names due to brand safety issues

What is Brand Safety?

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), “brand safety is keeping a brand’s reputation safe when they place their ads online“. In simple words, brand safety is just taking measures to ensure that ad messaging appears against content that is not harmful in any manner. 

The result of this is reduced risk of ad misplacement and a brand’s reputation unharmed. Plus, the elimination of the funding of content and services that infringe copyright. But it’s a lot more complicated than it seems. 

The IAB has put benchmarks in place to help marketers avoid unsafe content and execute brand safety measures. While the list is constantly expanding, harmful content is referred to by global digital advertising as the “Dirty Dozen” category that needs to be avoided.

Dirty Dozen category in advertising

Example of Brand Safety

Depending on the image they’ve created, different brands have various rules regarding where they want to promote their product. An example of this is the renowned brand, Apple, which does not allow villainous characters on the screen using their devices. All this is done to protect their brand image.

Below is an example of a top Coke brand’s ad being displayed on violent content.

Brand Safety concern on Youtube

How is Brand Safety Different from Brand Suitability?

While brand safety categories enable businesses to avoid having their ads placed next to inappropriate content, these few industry rules might look excessively harsh at times. It is far more complicated than simply avoiding harmful words or creating keyword block lists. This is when brand appropriateness comes into play.

Brand suitability takes brand safety to the next level. It is more than just ensuring that the brand’s reputation is not affected as a result of the facts around it. More importantly, brand compatibility is based on understanding the complete context of a page to ensure that it is suitable and matches the message of a brand.

Brand Suitability Examples

  • What is appropriate for a healthcare brand will almost certainly differ significantly from what is proper for an alcohol brand.
  • Marketers dealing with luxury watch businesses should avoid material geared at children and instead look for content aimed at working professionals.

brand safety vs brand suitability

Brand Safety on Social Media Platforms

The popularity of social media has increased significantly in recent years. A recent survey found that one in every four customers spends more than five hours each day on social media.

Facebook is the most popular, with 83% of respondents stating they had an account, followed by YouTube.

In the midst of fake news and possibly unpleasant information, marketers are becoming increasingly worried about their brand safety on such platforms.

Other social media platforms like TikTok have surpassed one billion users worldwide, and have emerged stronger from the epidemic. These platforms have faced several brand safety crises in the past year, discussing some of them below:

State of Brand Safety on Different Social Media Platforms

1. YouTube

Timeline of YT’s brand safety crisis:

Timeline of YouTube brand safety crisis

2. Facebook & Twitter

Facebook and Twitter made a greater play for video advertising from 2017 to 2019. Both platforms leveraged YouTube’s fails, by making brand safety a central theme to promote their video ads business. Despite this, both platforms experienced massive issues ranging from unsafe brand exposure to data privacy violations.

Facebook and Twitter brand Safety

Challenges of Brand Safety

Millions of dollars worth of video ads are spent primarily to find a home on social video platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and more. Ads are placed against user-generated content, where the objective is to leverage fast-churning content that users relate with. However, with 500 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube alone each minute, it is a challenge to limit ad placement only to content that seems suitable.

Brand safety is concerned with preventing the loss of trust between a brand and a customer. This is due to the fact that without trust, revenue, brand equity, and customers’ interests are either reduced or eliminated.

A transparent digital advertising brand safety vendor partnership is the solution to this problem. 

Advertisers must understand that the brand safety approach used for their digital advertising initiatives works at the speed of culture. This can help in absorbing new issues as they arise and does not over-block information or allow unsafe/inappropriate content to pass through.

This happens mostly during keyword blocking and domain-level allow and blocklisting. Because of over-blocking, many keywords that have different meanings, and URL domains that house information on a broad variety of topics get sidelined. 

When it comes to brand suitability, many businesses fail to execute it successfully due to the inability to find a comprehensive solution.

According to a recent survey, 49 percent of marketers have encountered brand suitability failure, 54 percent have faced consumer hostility, and 44 percent have lost revenue because of it.

Threats to Brand Safety

1. “Malgorithms” – when pages and ads misalign

Malgorithms are examples of advertisements in which the contextual meaning of a page and a display ad is mismatched.

2. Ads on Fake News

If you don’t pay attention to where your ad appears, your brand may be associated with fake publications and harmful charges. The Pizza Gate narrative, which became viral in 2016, is an example of this. It’s a problem that has prompted Reddit to remove programmatic advertising from conspiracy theory posts. While Google’s AdSense policy has been modified. All of these changes are the result of businesses refusing to identify with harmful “false” material. AdSense will no longer display advertisements on websites that “misrepresent, misstate, or hide facts.”

3. Extremist Sites

Moving on from the issue of false news, there is the possibility of adverts on a website that promotes extreme ideas. A marketer’s worst nightmare is having their brand connected with a divisive position. Let alone knowing that their point of view was supported by an advertisement! Again, whether far left, far right, racist, sexist, or fundamentalist, a brand does not want to be associated with harmful material. Google, in particular, has been under intense criticism. In fact, it was shown that brands in the United Kingdom had unintentionally given over £250,000 to extremist websites in the previous year.

Importance of Brand Safety

It takes years and significant resources for a brand to build a reputation in the minds of consumers. Not just the product or service, the consumers also connect with the brands’ values and principles. Even a single, less-than-desired association, can tarnish a brand’s reputation and consumers’ trust.

According to data, 1 in 10 ads is placed against harmful content.

brand safety statistics

Protecting your brand’s reputation and image within the industry is integral to garnering long-term success. Here’s why is brand safety important:

1. It Safeguards Your Reputation

It’s important to ensure that your brand is in good standing among the clients and the industry at large. 80% of consumers will stop or reduce buying products advertised across extreme or violent content. The type of content within which your brand is displayed will directly relate to how your brand is perceived. For example, if your ad messaging is placed within range describing natural disasters, that may paint your brand in a negative light. Therefore, putting brand safety measures in place will help to safeguard your reputation and build trust with your consumers.

2. It Helps You Stay Competitive

Gone are the days when brands stayed silent on important issues! By aligning yourself with the social causes you believe in, you will not only promote your brand identity but also stay competitive in a world where consumers want brands they are supporting to have a voice.

3. It can Optimize Your Ad Spend

In order to promote brand safety, your ads will most likely appear within premium content where your ad spend is optimized and going toward valuable impressions and engagement. Plus, any threats to your brand’s safety can cause consumers to lose trust and decrease your revenue.

Who Decides “What’s Safe & Unsafe”?

Many organizations are working to develop brand safety policies. The most well-known organizations are the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council (MRC).

These trade organizations, in partnership with brand safety vendors, establish rules and best practices for publishers, advertisers, and agencies to follow in order to maintain a healthy supply chain and thereby avoid placing their advertising on unsafe material.

They lay the groundwork for ensuring that the publisher’s inventory is accessible, meets privacy rules, and adheres to best practices for placement. Similarly, advertisers must adhere to brand authenticity and material restrictions for ad standards.

Ensuring Brand Safety with Mirrors

One of the key challenges with traditional brand safety tools is the inability to identify the right context, be it keyword targeting, blacklists, or dealing with unsafe programmatic video ad placements. 

Mirrors, by Silverpush, is an AI-powered contextual targeting solution focusing on serving personalized ads to the audience in a complete brand-safe environment.  It enables the processing of large volumes of data at speed, with better context, at a larger scale, and improved targeting efficiency.

Keyword targeting vs Mirrors contextual targeting

It focuses not only on brand safety but also on context-relevant brand suitability. Its AI-powered in-video context detection delivers brand safety controls without killing your reach and tackles the problems of over-blocking. 

Mirrors’ computer vision technology has increasingly made it possible to detect in-video contexts with great accuracy. It offers unparalleled insight for advertisers to place context-relevant video ads in a highly structured manner, and at the scale, programmatic has traditionally offered.

It can block ad placements against unwanted, unsuitable, irrelevant, and harmful content. These solutions can provide the highest accuracy to not let a single damaging ad placement pass through, by using frame-by-frame parsing of video content. 

100% Brand Safety with Mirrors

Mirrors’ deeply trained proprietary AI models identify custom-defined unsafe contexts like celebrities, actions, objects, and scenarios in a streaming video to contextually filter video content.

100% Brand Safety with Mirrors

These videos are classified into many levels of video content, including smoking, adult, violence, wrecks, arms, terrorism, and others.

Mirrors filters out unsafe content before an ad impression is served

Along with this, it also focuses on brand suitability through text & sentiment analysis, engagement metrics, and organic influence at the video level.

At Silverpush, we work with clients to create contextual advertising solutions that ensure brand safety and maximum ROI. Contact us today to learn more about how Silverpush can help boost your ad revenue and grow your business!

complete brand safety with Mirrors

To learn about Silverpush and its offerings, contact us.

    6 Truths about Brand Safety Every Business should Know

    PUBLISH DATE: 20 April 2022

    One of the most difficult challenges when ensuring brand safety is deciding what’s “safe,” which is entirely personal and often favorably specific. A conventional brand may blocklist sites with inappropriate content, while a future-focused brand may find its actual audience in those same spots.

    But, in this process advertisers might overlook the minute reality of brand protection today and skip truths about brand safety that they cannot afford to ignore.

    Interesting Truths about Brand Safety

    People are drawn to Controversial Topics

    Brands can skip many opportunities when they blocklist sites or construct long keyword-blocking lists for suspicion of controversy. And increased demand among conservative brand marketers can push up pricing on sites deemed safe, even if those “ultra-safe” pages draw less traffic. Taking measures to ensure that a brand remains safe is important, but too many measures can be expensive and show lackluster outcomes. 

    There’s no such thing as a Secure Website

    There are a bunch of scenarios illustrating this fact—airline ads next to news reports about airplane crashes, candy ads preceding those about dental care and cavities, etc. Protection is about content and context, not URLs, so contextual understanding is important. It’s almost inevitable that every carefully filtered and selected site on a URL allow list could serve up more than one discomfiting matchup.


    Read Also: Brand Safety and Brand Suitability – Do they Differ?

    There are a lot of Gray Areas

    There are many websites that all brands will want to bypass in the Wild West of the World Wide Web. But the vast plurality of web addresses, or URLs, offer a mixture of excellent and inappropriate content. As a result, guiding the enormous ocean of questionable content needs detailed descriptions of every brand and its audiences to decide what sinks into the thumbs-up category.

    Equally significant, the same practice needs to happen for each campaign and every advertisement. An ad featuring many raised hands emerging next to a report on advances in prosthetic limbs is cringeworthy, but other ads might be just fine. 

    Change is Consistent

    This fact seems more accurate than ever. And the internet is the zone where transformation is immediately noticed, captured, and spread. That means your brand safety tool must be competent in developing in real-time. Otherwise, today’s perfect brand strategy may be risky or hopelessly out-of-date by tomorrow. Because let’s face it: going viral is not always helpful.

    Video Rules

    As phone usage peaks and more internet-connected TVs enter every home, video advertising will rise. According to a study, online video traffic is anticipated to double over the next few years, making it a medium no advertiser can afford to miss.

    Until now, no proper brand safety tools exist for video content—especially “in-stream.” After multiple examples of big brands’ ads on videos that featured fierce or hate-filled content, advertisers have every right to be careful in order to keep a brand’s reputation safe.. 

    Using a Machete is Silly When a Scalpel will do

    Just as avoiding video suppresses vulnerability and hurts consumer acquisition, URL blacklists and allow lists limit views and transformations. The same is valid for out-of-the-box filtering methods, even if that permits some personalization. Likewise, any fixed solution that doesn’t help fluid growth slowly hacks away at meaningful views and restricts compounding dollars. 


    Marketers require brand safety methods that help them eradicate concerns while also developing new audiences. While evolution brings opportunity, a necessity of brand safety has become really crucial to keep a brand’s reputation unharmed. 

    Read more of our blogs in order to learn how to effectively protect your brand online.