By Mattias Spetz, MD, Europe
The latest conversation around advertiser blacklisting is focused on the damage being caused to publishers by the COVID-19 news cycle. With publisher revenues down, blacklisting strategies have once again come under scrutiny.
While blacklisting is an essential component of scalable and contextually suitable campaigns, there are a few pitfalls it’s important for advertisers to avoid.
Contextual blindness in keyword lists
Blacklisting 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 blacklists 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
Blacklists 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 blacklists 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 blacklisted.
Overlooking consumer content consumption realities
Brand should consider content consumption habits to engage with the right audience.
The latest debate around news blacklisting 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.
At Channel Factory, we’ve found a duel whitelist/blacklist 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 contextual suitability.