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April 17, 2017, Article

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If Ads Run Next to Offensive Content, This Programmatic Platform Gives Brands Their Money Back

MediaMath takes a stand.

While brand-safety concerns on YouTube in recent weeks have given automated ad buying a black eye, MediaMath today announced a measure to make its clients feel better protected. The programmatic player is refunding brands if their ads, per a press release, “run on previously determined unsafe inventory” with a system dubbed Curated Market.

“[It] provides transparency and hygiene in execution and reporting, audience addressability at scale and accountability for actors in the digital ecosystem, across all channels,” Joe Zawadzki, CEO of MediaMath, said in a statement. “It will change the way marketers think about buying ads.”

In late March, brand safety became a major issue when dozens of big-name marketers, including AT&T and Johnson & Johnson, started freezing YouTube budgets because their ads on the video platform were sometimes running next to user-generated clips that promoted ISIS, racism or other extreme subjects. Brands should be concerned, per a Survata survey, commissioned by Adweek, which found that 36 percent of those asked believe brands endorse offensive content when they appear next to it.

Moving forward, MediaMath’s new Curated Market looks to use stringent criteria to determine whether its programmatic ads are brand-safe. For instance, it’s leveraging comScore to help companies market only to audiences of frequently patronized and high-quality websites.

MediaMath will also offer such publishers’ top-priority inventory while, separately, giving media buyers better transparency into where ads are served at the URL level. The Curated Market involves partnerships with data companies Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Peer39 to create better ad opportunities.

“Digital advertising has long promised the ability to change how marketers interact with their customers, but the ubiquity of channels and content means marketers need to be more selective,” Zawadzki stated.

MediaMath works with major holding companies, various ad agencies and global brands as a demand-side platform (DSP).

Brand safety, though, is but one part of his team’s Curated Market. For example, the system also allows marketers to target consumers across the digital publishing channels and devices that people regularly utilize.

Per the company’s press release, “[It] will make those audiences available, in real time, to participating publishers, exchanges and SSPs [supply-side platforms]. Those publishers have prioritized Curated Market demand and are able to immediately recognize and target those users.”

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