Brand Safety is a Continuous Balancing Act

Posted by Louis Jones • Aug 17, 2023 1:28:52 PM

Mario - Good to see you penning an article for Forbes.  Also, thank you for continuing to raise awareness across a range of activities/actions that must continue to sit higher in our industry consciousness if we are to achieve true brand safe measures.  Clearly, the list of concerns and the options for managing them continue to expand.  Brand Safety was once focused on fraud and invalid traffic, and has moved to what makes our industry practices sustainable in the truest sense of the word - equality in all its forms, truth/fairness, the impact of real journalism on democracy, ethical choices of who we advertise with & why, and carbon strategies that help make a dent in environmental woes across the globe.  Indeed, it is a task to manage.
Building a common language has always been a challenge for key industry trade groups who focus on what commonalities can be achieved while innovation/tech changes how we do things - tomorrow.  At BSi, we find ourselves navigating priorities among different constituents, each of whom all might define success slightly differently.  That said, as an industry, we do manage to press on to collectively raise the game. We have been, as many of you have, preaching not only about the bluntness of keywords and exclusion/block list (and they harm they can do), but reminding the industry that quality journalism, and the support of it, is bedrock to a functioning society.  Without fact based, thoughtful reporting, our sense of right/wrong or good/bad, begins to slowly slip away into the background, leaving us all susceptible to societal ills.
On the notion of suitability, our tools sets need to catch up.  Not only do we need to better solve for community guideline principles, but better monetization standards to help advertisers make the right call against the 13 GARM categories.  There are some ideas is progress, like ZEFR, and their Suitability work for the marketplace, but also newer efforts to better categorize all video content before it ever reaches a media destination - that is what the busy Verification Partners are consistently working toward, and why we are talking with new entrants like SEEKR and UNITARY.  We will become collectively better, but it will take time for new tech to work more seamlessly with legacy systems that are expensive to overhaul.  At the end of the day the cost to perform all these activities must be positively linked to an achievable result at scale.
We continue to improve, but continually beating the drum is what it takes to keep all the goals moving forward on the radar simultaneously.  We can get there if we lock arms!