programmaticThe immense reach, the widely propagated ease of ad booking, and the ability to accurately define target audiences are just a few of the factors that persuade many advertisers to bet their marketing budgets on social media.

The problem with this is that big names, such as Facebook and Google, are quickly entrusted with the dissemination of ads without much reflection and thus with the integrity of brand safety. They benefit from the fact that the online advertising ecosystem is becoming increasingly complex and advertisers use the strong fragmentation and confusion as an excuse to snatch simpler social media advertising or playing out Google AdSense.

What makes more sense instead is considering carefully where to advertise and not just opt for simplicity – and if it is at least to act brand safe. In fact, it is essential to have a clear corporate identity for online marketing, based on individual research results on target groups and brand messages. Companies need to define exact guidelines in advance of advertising bookings, where and in which environment they want to advertise, and which publishers they want to support with their advertising budgets. In doing so, it is not enough to decide on the ad booking considering the reach of the publisher only, rather it requires a strict quality control of the respective medium, because depending on what the target audience looks like, the nature of the content of a premium publisher may vary widely. The most important point is that the medium itself is a brand that has the readers’ trust.

Especially in times of hot political debates, even on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, companies need to be more aware than ever that they automatically send (political) signals to the world when they finance platforms and publishers of all kinds by advertising bookings - even if this happens unintentionally.

The selective triggering of advertising in the programmatic era is a very complex topic, which is why service providers invest a lot of time and money in researching the dynamics. If advertisers aim at targeting, based on user-matching or thematic relevance á la Adsense, it can happen that the booking platform also offers pages that are unsuitable as advertising environments.

One reason for this could be, for instance, that such questionable inventory was not recognized as problematic by the algorithms or crawlers during new page registration procedures on programmatic platforms. Although these correspond to the criteria of providers such as Google Adsense in terms of topical relevance, they are not always quality-tested.

In order not to further endanger the own brand safety in the future, we recommend advertising companies to book their ads via networks that offer whitelisting and customized channels for campaign delivery, which means pre-agreed lists of pages that are released by the customer for delivery, rather than trying to avoid problematic inventory via blacklisting and relying on mechanisms that might be deceived.

The fact is, that programmatic technology applications are showing no sign of slowing down keep and gaining momentum, as MediaMath’s predictions for 2019 emphasize. The company expects programmatic technology to take a 36% share of Asia Pacific’s USD19 billion digital and video ad market this year. MediaMath’s Chief Scientist, Prasad Chalasani, predicts this year will bring a surge in the use of Deep Learning techniques by ad-tech companies in all aspects of marketing: customer ad response prediction, audience look-alike modelling, dynamic creative optimisation, probabilistic identity tracking, fraud detection, and optimal bidding.

In a recently released interactive infographic, MediaMath shares key trends across the globe – including data centred on APAC’s rising programmatic markets, that provide you with an array of useful information.

A quality seal for publishers and technology companies seems to become indispensable soon in order to bring more transparency and security to the online advertising world, like e.g. the Code of Conduct Programmatic Advertising quality certificate of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW). Such a seal would give advertisers the chance to protect their brand(s) and make sure that their ads are not popping up on dubious or image-hostile sites.

By Daniela La Marca