Brand Protection in Online Advertising


This presentation is part of research on several topics which was done to improve and enhance the features of our ad platform Adatrix™

This article discusses the topic of Brand Protection in Online Advertising. Companies invest a significant amount of time and money in creating brand awareness and establishing their brand. So when it comes to online advertising then want to make sure their brand is presented in the best light possible.

The guidelines of Brand Protection vary for Advertiser and Publisher. While the advertiser wants his ads to be kept away from inappropriate content, Publisher seeks malware protection and is concerned about the quality of ads being served to them.

Brand Protection for Advertisers

From the advertiser perspective, the most common requirements are listed as follows:

  • Avoid showing ads on offensive and illegal sites.
  • Avoid showing ads on bad-fit contents (e.g. showing ad of a travel site on article about accident).
  • Identify if ads are being displayed in desired locations (Geographic targeting)
  • Custom setting of tolerance levels (e.g. showing my ad on page containing alcohol/tobacco related content is OK but on page containing illegal content is NOT OK).

In order to meet those requirements, we should be able to show page-level content ratings of pages in our inventory. Also there should be a provision to maintain advertiser-specific blacklists and whitelists. At present, the feature of targeting/filtering based on geography,demography,category etc. is already provided.

Brand Protection for Publishers

From the publisher perspective, the most common requirements are listed as follows:

  • Ensure unwanted ads (e.g. poor quality ads) are not served which may effect user experience.
  • Protection from Malware

In order to meet those requirements, we are currently integrating a malware scanner which checks the media files before they are uploaded into our system (Adatrix). Also, publishers will be provided with dashboards where they can inspect the media/ad code being shown on their page at any particular time. Publishers should also be given an option to block unwanted ads through dashboard.


How DSPs, Exchanges and SSPs have evolved?

Last week during discussions on integrations with exchanges, DSPs etc. we were curious to know about how these have evolved and what is their uniqueness in digital advertising landscape. Briefly putting below my understanding on various jargons which are being used in online advertising today.

Considering the general workflow, advertisers hire agencies (for expertise) to spend their money, these agencies have buying desks which has relationships/partnerships with different entities on the supply side. Now two things have evolved during last 3 years mostly surrounding real time bidding.

Buying Desks along with the traditional buying relationships and partnerships now have something called Automated Trading Desks which are similar to DSP but are fully owned by agencies. Most of automated trading desks are running on technology either licensed from another company or acquisition ( The video highlights the point of conflict when any technology company works as an agency or vice versa. But this conflict is not occurring till now with Google’s display network which is pretty strange.

Ad networks or publisher networks started out with simple model of combining publisher sites into verticals, but due to abundance of networks and lack of differentiation, these networks have re-branded themselves as DSP and SSP. Even now many of them don’t have technology platform but provide a combination of licensed technology with inventory they had earlier. Many of these will now evolve to private exchange (providing the benefits of real time bidding along with the inventory they bring) which seems to be the next logical step. Private exchange concept is picking up to increase the spending of direct buy through real time bidding model. Exchange was mostly used for remnant stuff not just in terms of inventory that is left out but also in terms of money that is left out after premium buy.

Some links which will bring clarity on these are provided. Most of the links are interesting to read giving slightly different perspective and argument.

DSP – Demand side platform – providing integrations with exchanges and ad networks to buy with RTB Ex: AdChemy, X+1, Media Math, DataXu
Exchange – RTB – Real Time Bidding – providing auction capability across different kinds of systems (DSP, SSP, Networks) Ex: DoubleClick, Right Media
SSP – Supply side platform – providing integrations with exchanges and ad networks to sell with RTB Ex: Rubicon, AdMeld, Pubmatic
Networks – Used to refer to ad networks which are basically publisher networks – Thousands of networks are there

Mobile or Online

Mobile or Online aka portability vs usability……..Well both are important and both mobile and online have its own benefits and shortcomings. With the advancement in technology, the line between mobile and online is becoming lesser day by day.

However, it poses a problem for advertisers.  How to manage the budget across online and mobile channel. Earlier, most of the digital advertisement was online however with the phenomenal rise of mobile media, advertisers and agencies are finding it difficult to manage their budget, team, resources across both the platforms. More importantly, once the campaign is started, it is often difficult to monitor and optimize the campaign across two different channel s? I believe it would be important for advertisers/agencies to identify a tool that can provide a comprehensive picture of the campaigns. It is important to keep optimizing campaigns by continuous insight from analytics. If there is no single tool that helps to consolidate data, it is better to run campaigns in a set of media from where it is possible to gain insights or from where it is easy to compile data in a format that would provide insights. However, if there is a tool that enables to run and manage campaign from single platform across various channels, then experiment with the new channels to generate higher ROI. Since many studies claim that mobile channel provides a better ROI, it would be great to test it. Moreover, with the lines between mobile and online blurring and with the pace at which mobile is gaining grounds, it would be extremely important to start gaining insights about mobile, so that one keeps ahead of the knowledge curve. Most importantly, it would be very important to find or develop a tool that would enable to optimize the budget not using excel but with sophisticated techniques.

The bottom-line is that it is important to utilize data in way that leads to insights, insights leads to actionable strategy and a strategy well executed generates a better ROI.