There’s nothing new about news publishers lamenting about advertisers’ keyword blocklists and third-party verification firms flagging their content for not being brand-safe. And over the years, Black-owned media companies have shared their concerns that those keyword blocklists discriminately harm their businesses.
But according to recent conversations with half a dozen executives at Black-owned publishers, this issue hasn’t improved — even for their lifestyle content. The execs told Digiday anywhere from 15% to 37% of their traffic can get blocked at times, which can lead to underperforming campaigns. And because it takes time to explain and correct those issues with advertisers and agencies, by the time the issue is fixed the lost impressions can threaten their sales teams’ ability to resign clients.
Verification firms like Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify have added more tools for programmatic media buyers to use in their campaign planning, including contextual targeting tools, layered on top of advertisers’ general keyword blocklists. But when combined with publishers’ own verification strategies for brand-safe content, all of these tools can clog the pipes and reduce publishers’ available inventory, publishers have said.