Google’s DoubleClick, Yahoo and AOL have joined the fight against online advertising misplacement – which has seen ads appearing next to stories about rape, murder and child abuse – after being awarded so-called brand “safety seals”.
Twenty companies, including Microsoft Advertising, have now been issued seals in the UK following a process which involves having their ad misplacement policies and processes verified by an independent third party.
The seals confirm they meet standards to reduce the risk of online ads being served next to inappropriate or illegal content. A further 18 have committed to undergo independent verification within six months.
The seals have been awarded by the UK’s Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (Jicwebs) – the independent body that defines best practice and standards for online ad trading.
As ad buying is increasingly carried out through automated technologies, advertisers and agencies have faced a major challenge to ensure their ads do not appear against inappropriate content.
Some of the worst examples have included an ad for BBQ briquettes running next to a story about an American couple accused of cremating their dead child on a barbeque and an ad for UPS appearing next to a story about body parts being received in the post.
The seals are the culmination of an unprecedented level of cross-industry collaboration through the Digital Trading Standards Group to deliver a set of straightforward and workable best practice principles which meet the needs of all sides of the industry.
ISBA director of media and advertising Bob Wootton said: “Advertisers have been calling for this type of commitment for over two and a half years so they can trust and embrace digital advertising. It’s particularly encouraging to see these web giants follow Microsoft’s lead.”
IAB UK chief executive Guy Phillipson added: “Brand safety has never been more important to marketers, especially given the rapid rise of programmatic display. The impressive number of companies committed to this initiative is testament to the industry’s willingness to respond with audited best practice.”
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