Blocklists, Inclusion Lists and Everything In-Between (Part 1)
Channel Factory Insights

By Mattias Spetz, MD, Europe

The latest conversation around advertiser blocklisting is focused on the damage being caused to publishers by the COVID-19 news cycle. With publisher revenues down, blocklisting strategies have once again come under scrutiny. 

While blocklisting is an essential component of scalable and brand suitable campaigns, there are a few pitfalls it’s important for advertisers to avoid. 

Contextual blindness in keyword lists 

Blocklisting on YouTube needs a combination of keywords, videos, and channels to ensure brands can scale campaigns against content that makes sense for them and not accidentally 

Brand safety company CHEQ’s 2019 study found 57% of neutral or positive stories were being incorrectly flagged as unsafe for brands. Keyword blocklists can easily become clumsy and avoid completely innocuous content when they fail to acknowledge the context in which a keyword appears. Think “shots” or “injuries” on the basketball court. Or amidst quarantine, here is a great workout routine or recipe.

One-size-fits-all, set-and-forget approaches

Blocklists must adapt to the brand, and they must adapt constantly. Popular culture and news events are in constant flux, and new keywords must be incorporated constantly. 

Using universal blocklists across brands (for agencies) or markets isn’t an ideal solution. Every brand is different and every market has unique nuances.

This is particularly important for multi-market advertisers.  Local languages have their own native nuance and idioms. Also, individual countries have their own real-world events (political parties, celebrity scandals, etc) that might need to be blocklisted. 

Overlooking consumer content consumption realities  

Brand should consider content consumption habits to engage with the right audience. 

The latest debate around news blocklisting highlights the importance of considering the context and content against which brands advertise. When you see almost 40% of millennials closely following national politics, social issues, and natural disasters, and yet a reluctance on the part of brands to buy against that content, bridging the gap is a question of building nuance into your blacklisting strategy to address consumer consumption patterns.

As we found in our recent survey of consumer viewing habits during the lockdown, 70% of consumers interested in seeing more alignment with their mood, brands have to factor in consumer viewing habits into what they choose to include and exclude in their campaigns.

By Mattias Spetz, MD, Europe

The latest conversation around advertiser blocklisting is focused on the damage being caused to publishers by the COVID-19 news cycle. With publisher revenues down, blocklisting strategies have once again come under scrutiny. 

While blocklisting is an essential component of scalable and brand suitable campaigns, there are a few pitfalls it’s important for advertisers to avoid. 

Contextual blindness in keyword lists 

Blocklisting on YouTube needs a combination of keywords, videos, and channels to ensure brands can scale campaigns against content that makes sense for them and not accidentally 

Brand safety company CHEQ’s 2019 study found 57% of neutral or positive stories were being incorrectly flagged as unsafe for brands. Keyword blocklists can easily become clumsy and avoid completely innocuous content when they fail to acknowledge the context in which a keyword appears. Think “shots” or “injuries” on the basketball court. Or amidst quarantine, here is a great workout routine or recipe.

One-size-fits-all, set-and-forget approaches

Blocklists must adapt to the brand, and they must adapt constantly. Popular culture and news events are in constant flux, and new keywords must be incorporated constantly. 

Using universal blocklists across brands (for agencies) or markets isn’t an ideal solution. Every brand is different and every market has unique nuances.

This is particularly important for multi-market advertisers.  Local languages have their own native nuance and idioms. Also, individual countries have their own real-world events (political parties, celebrity scandals, etc) that might need to be blocklisted. 

Overlooking consumer content consumption realities  

Brand should consider content consumption habits to engage with the right audience. 

The latest debate around news blocklisting highlights the importance of considering the context and content against which brands advertise. When you see almost 40% of millennials closely following national politics, social issues, and natural disasters, and yet a reluctance on the part of brands to buy against that content, bridging the gap is a question of building nuance into your blacklisting strategy to address consumer consumption patterns.

As we found in our recent survey of consumer viewing habits during the lockdown, 70% of consumers interested in seeing more alignment with their mood, brands have to factor in consumer viewing habits into what they choose to include and exclude in their campaigns.

Conclusion

At Channel Factory, we’ve found a duel inclusion list/blocklist strategy to be the most effective way to deliver maximum contextual sophistication for brands. In next week’s post, we’ll outline the optimal ways to configure this strategy to maximize your brand suitability.