How to Align Your Brand with GARM Standards [What to Know]

How to Align Your Brand with GARM Standards [What to Know]

Today’s brands are increasingly concerned about responsible and conscious advertising, recognizing the value of showing their ads with digital media content that promotes a safer and more positive online environment for all. And doesn’t get them into trouble by avoiding possible brand safety issues. However, without clear frameworks and standards in place, it’s difficult for brands to understand exactly what they should and should not avoid. 

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media set out to change this, initially forming in 2019 to create a forum for brands, advertisers and tech companies to partner to combat safety issues and craft safety standards that can be easily adopted. 

What Is GARM and How Did It Start?

GARM stands for Global Alliance for Responsible Media, a cross-industry initiative formed by the World Federation of Advertisers. GARMtackles the challenges of harmful content on various digital media platforms and its monetization through advertisements.

These standards aim to unite media companies, platforms, marketers, agencies, and industry organizations in creating a safer digital media ecosystem by limiting the presence of harmful online content. But to achieve such a collaborative effort, there has to be a clear definition of harmful, sensitive content using consistent and concise language.

The GARM standards identify 13 ‘evil’ categories to label content, a safety floor to prevent monetization of harmful content, and risk levels to describe acceptable exceptions on sensitive content for brands.

How Is GARM Related to Advertising?

GARM developed and adopted common definitions for classifying harmful content so that those in the advertising industry have the same understanding. By establishing the GARM standards, advertisers have solid guidelines to recognize unsafe and unsuitable digital media content and avoid sponsoring it. The definitions allow agencies and platforms to make strategic decisions crucial to the industry.  

What Agencies Use GARM?

Brands, advertising agencies, industry associations, and third-party companies have embraced GARM standards and encouraged adoption to promote responsible advertising on digital media. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram have created brand safety metrics, but they continue to use their custom taxonomies as standards.  

How Can GARM Standards Be Utilized?

Platforms, agencies, marketers, and brands can use GARM standards differently. For example, platforms may adopt and enforce monetization policies by mapping these against the brand safety floor and suitability framework. On the other hand, agencies and marketers may leverage GARM standards when designing campaigns and choosing to invest in platforms. As for brands, they can utilize the framework to ensure they’re supporting the right type of content.  

4 Initiatives to Meet GARM Standards

As a company, how do you align your brand with GARM standards? Below are a few tips.

1. Understand the Framework

A clear understanding of the brand safety floor and suitability framework lets companies know what content is unsafe and sends the wrong message about brand values, impacting consumer perception. For example, you want your brand to be seen as aggressive and on the attack, so you pick these words and related verbiage as keywords for your campaign. However, your ads may end up in content with a pro-war sentiment.  

2. Examine Current Keyword Blocklists

Utilizing keyword blocklists is not a cure-all for ensuring your brand complies with GARM standards; sometimes, they may be the reason you’re supporting limited content, affecting your ad reach.

The brand suitability framework sets risk levels at which sensitive content is acceptable or appropriate to balance freedom of speech and public safety. For example, the keywords attack and battle may be preventing your brand from accessing great content simply because these terms relate to war.  

Evaluating current blocklists and comparing these to GARM standards reduces the risks of over-blocking content, particularly from trustworthy creators. 

3. Ask for Consistency and Transparency

The challenge of meeting GARM standards shouldn’t be left on your shoulders alone; your vendors can also share the responsibility. Demand transparency and consistency by looking into their metrics, taxonomies, and how they measure compliance.

4. Collaborate with the Right Partners

Heavy reliance on keyword analysis results in false positives and low precision for your brand campaigns. That’s why tech providers have developed machine learning models to label content better and more thoroughly based on reviews, allowing advertisers to be more aligned with GARM brand suitability.  

Align Your Brand with Channel Factory

GARM standards provide a solid foundation for ensuring brand safety and brand sustainability, but it’s a foundation that can also be built upon. Channel Factory goes the extra mile in adding additional categories for suitability in addition to the Brand Safety categories instituted by GARM. This additional filtering ensures the highest customization possible for your brand. Contact us today to see how we can partner with you, or visit the rest of our site to learn more.  

The Future of Video Ads

The Future of Video Ads

Youtube video ads and video for social media ads are becoming increasingly popular in the advertising world. You can hardly watch something online these days without first seeing an ad. But are they just a passing trend? 

We’re happy to report that the future of video ads is incredibly bright. In fact, Youtube video ads should absolutely be a part of your advertising strategy if they aren’t already. Here are just a few reasons why video ads are the future of marketing. 

They Humanize Your Brand

More and more, we see that consumers prefer and respond better to a more personal approach to advertising. Video advertising is the perfect medium for this more personal, human method. 

Video ads allow you to tell a story and influence your audience’s perception. You can show them around your warehouse to see the quality of your product firsthand or create a vlog to experience a “day in the life” with you. You can help your audience see you as human and relatable through video. 

Forbes reports that customer testimonials, tutorial videos, and demonstration videos are the three most effective types of video marketing. Having influencers and consumers create testimonials, or how-to videos of your products associates an already trusted face to your brand. Rather than feel marketed to, consumers are more likely to feel that they are receiving a recommendation from a friend. 

They Are Infinitely Shareable

Video ads are the future because they can be shared and gain traction on their own. Incredibly, 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others. Video advertising is the most likely content type to be shared on social media. 

These are organic (free) engagements that push your content to more and more people. Not only can they be shared over and over, but when a video gains traction, your advertising costs can remain low because you aren’t paying users for engagement. A good video ad will spread by itself. 

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of video ads is the lasting impact they can leave. A Small Business Trends article reports that “80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.” If you can create a video ad that goes viral or becomes a meme, your ad could remain popular on the internet for a long, long time. A Small Business Trends article reports that “80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.” 

They Provide a Better Return on Investment

The most compelling argument for Youtube video ads is in the numbers. Here are just a few statistics that demonstrate how profitable videos for social media ads truly are: 

  • 88% of marketers are satisfied with the return on investment (ROI) of their video marketing efforts on social media. Here are just a few statistics that demonstrate how profitable videos for social media ads truly are:
  • 77% of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.
  • Businesses using video grow company revenue 49% faster year-over-year than organizations without video.

How could video not be the future of advertising with numbers like these? It’s simple. Videos drive sales.

Find the Content for Your Brand

The future of TV advertising is changing because video ads have evolved to be much more personal than TV ads have ever been. It’s so much easier to target demographics and create personal and humanizing ads that your audience can identify with. 

Before, audiences could only engage with TV ads by watching them when they ran during commercial breaks. Now, people can share, like, and comment on video ads. 

It’s safe to say that the future of video ads is incredibly profitable and is perhaps the most effective advertisement mode on social media. 
For more information about using YouTube video ads as part of your advertising strategy, check out the rest of our site or contact us today.

Why is Diversity Important in Advertising?

Why is Diversity Important in Advertising?

Diversity and inclusion are key industry topics right now in advertising. More than ever before, consumers are better informed, and they have more available choices. Data we are seeing states that 69% of consumers want brands to support diverse causes.  This generation cares deeply about diversity and diverse representation in advertising, and their purchases reflect that.

Diversity is important in advertising because media should more accurately reflect the American consumer population and because consumers are more likely to buy something from a company that commits to diversity. 

The World Is Changing

If you only experienced the United States through its commercials and ads, you might get the impression we are composed of a nearly homogenous population. While things are greatly improving, there is still room for highlighting diverse voices. 

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 57.8% of the population identified as white alone on the 2020 census. That is barely more than half of the population, indicating that the remaining 42.2% is racially diverse. 

Despite our extremely multicultural population, an article from Forbes reported that “only 26% of African-Americans, 10% of Hispanics and 3% of Asians feel represented in advertising.” 

Part of this may be because 85.4% of the ad industry is white and are simply reflecting their own experiences and subconscious biases in the ads they create. Whatever the cause, this is an issue that needs to change. It is time for advertising to reflect the reality of the beautiful, diverse world we live in. 

Consumers See Themselves

Another reason why diversity is important in advertising is that it allows consumers to see themselves within an ad campaign. Rather than merely sympathize with the actors in a commercial, when consumers see people who look and act like them, that shared experience translates to something stronger: empathy. 

Consumers will be able to make a deeper connection to your advertisement—and to your brand—when they feel seen and understood. On the other hand, when consumers feel they are consistently left out, underrepresented, or misrepresented, it can create negative feelings about you and your company. 

Failure to represent diversity in your advertising may even send a message to your consumers that you only value the business of certain groups. Making a conscious effort to include diversity does not need to be an act of tokenism; rather, it can demonstrate a commitment to equality and fairness within your brand. 

Diversity Is the Future

Perhaps the most compelling reason for companies to demonstrate diversity in their advertising is the increase in consumerism they may experience. Research from Google found that “people are more likely to consider or even purchase a product after seeing an ad they consider to be diverse or inclusive.” 

This was true among all the groups they surveyed, with some ethnic groups such as Black and Latinx reporting even higher percentages than the average. In other words, media diversity is important not just because it makes consumers feel good but because it also translates to more sales for companies. 

An even more sobering fact that shows why diversity matters in marketing is that in a survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults, slightly more than one-third reported ceasing to buy from a brand they felt did not reflect them in their advertising. When consumers feel that companies do not make an effort to include them in their marketing, they do not develop a feeling of brand loyalty. 

Channel Factory Supports Diversity in Advertising

Diversity and inclusion in marketing are important because consumers want to be seen and understood by the companies whose products they purchase. They want to feel as though they matter. When industries succeed at respectfully incorporating diversity into their advertising, they send a message to their consumers that they are heard and valued. 

We support diversity in advertising. We believe it’s the future and the right thing to do. 

To learn more about the future of advertising and doing the right thing by your audience, contact us today

No One Cares About Your Tech – The Art of Marketing to Marketers

No One Cares About Your Tech – The Art of Marketing to Marketers

B2B marketing has always been thought of as highly technical and crafted for a more sophisticated audience that was less focused on emotion and more driven by other things. Some B2B marketing can be lackluster, diving deep into the weeds with the expectation that the sophisticated human looking at what you’re promoting will be discerning enough to understand complex nuance in a quick image. I don’t believe that is the case.

A friend and fellow B2B marketer, Kevin Brown the CMO of Onbe, a digital payments company, recently said to me, ‘at the end of the day, we are all trying to sell things for our organisation. Whether it’s Skittles or Insurance, you need to make it compelling”.

B2B marketers do face unique challenges – crowded marketplaces, small nuances, time strapped clients, often a lack of category level awareness. For example, a consumer might think ‘why do I need this new, never before seen product when my business is running ok without it?’. I believe B2B marketers still have to inspire and appeal to human emotion.

In today’s fast-paced world, the amount of content and advertising aimed at marketers is overwhelming – an endless onslaught of information designed to prove each product or service is ‘the one’. In technical sectors there is a tendency to ‘blind with science’ – that is, to focus on the in-depth specifications of  a product to prove its worth. But, let’s be honest – does your business audience really care about your tech, or the science behind it?  No. Nobody cares about your tech.

So how can you create compelling content when marketing to marketers? 

Be Authentic

Human relationships are the building blocks for business success. This means building a brand that people want to engage with, by appealing to the human inside the marketer to evoke emotion. By aligning your brand with good, relevant causes and by being more conscious of the communities and greater world around you, is a step in the right direction. 

For example, recent research that we carried out on consumer and brand values shows that consumers actually prefer to buy from brands committed to socially conscious causes – demanding transparency, authenticity and relevant/relatable communications from the brands they engage with.

Speak the Language

Marketing is essentially about communication. B2B marketers are not developers or data analysts. If you are authentic in your approach and have proven results, there is no need to delve into the complex technicalities of a product. Keeping language simple to focus on the idea and the benefits, rather than the functionality, is imperative. 

One thing my boss always says to me is ‘make sure it passes the martian test’. The idea is that if a martian landed from Mars, he or she would be able to understand your message. If it’s too complex to understand the basic theme or idea, it’s too complex for your marketing.

Think Outside the Box

What are slogans that have stuck with you since childhood? Commercials you’ll never forget? One of the best B2B marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen involved an insurance company that created a Compare the Meerkat site with Meerkats that was actually a white label site for comparing insurance. Something that was boring and could have gotten only a few people to visit instead became a huge success. An ad that caught my eye recently was a company that made work so easy that people would just hug their bosses unsolicited. Ideas that grab your attention are not solely  for marketing to consumers. After all, marketers are people at the end of the day. 

My biggest success to date in marketing was when Covid hit and we could no longer do events in person – we pivoted. My team created a YouTube show interviewing other marketers and doing a ‘news of the week’ roundup of the latest in my industry. Product is not easy nor inexpensive, but for less than my monthly event budget, I now have a digital show that can connect globally with marketing and advertising executives. Check it out on YouTube if you’re looking for new ways to connect with audiences. 

To sum it up, my advice for B2B marketers is to not let the idea of marketing to marketers stop you from pushing the boundaries and testing new ideas. And for Pete’s sake, no one cares about your damn tech.








Contributing to a Safer Internet for Kids and Teens

Contributing to a Safer Internet for Kids and Teens

In the age of smartphones and endless means of internet connection, it has become nearly impossible for parents to monitor or safeguard their children’s online activity. It is critical that operators of websites or services that are collecting personal information from an online source directed at children under the age of 13 to collect children’s personal data with parental consent. 

“There’s so much content trying to get our children’s attention. Some of it is really great, some of it isn’t. It’s increasingly difficult for parents to sort through all the content their children hope to consume…” says Shai Samet, the founder of kidSAFE 1. According to a 2018 Parental Controls Report 2, 70% of children (between the ages of 7 and 18) will encounter pornographic or overly violent content while simply regularly using the internet for research and homework. 

A report from the Thorn 3 found that 78% of children (ages 9-12) are using YouTube every day to learn new things, discover new topics, and feel connected to the world around them. While this is important for global understanding and development of interests and skills, it’s important that children have the safeguards around them to hone an experience that’s right for them. 

It is the responsibility of platforms, parents and governments to understand how children are using technology and develop solutions to protect them as they explore online spaces. For too long, tech companies have been able to set these problems aside by saying children are not allowed there. It’s time to take a look at the facts and recognize a need for change. 

Last week, Channel Factory was awarded the kidSAFE+ COPPA Seal 4, an independent safety certification service and seal-of-approval program designed exclusively for children-friendly websites and technologies. kidSAFE 1 reviewed Channel Factory’s targeting methodologies, technology, and data practices around children’s advertising and deemed them responsible, safe, and COPPA-compliant 5

Channel Factory connects with both kids and their parents on YouTube, running ads next to safe and suitable content, while giving brands reassurance that they are following all applicable guidelines and restrictions. The kidSAFE certification reinforces Channel Factory’s dedication to ensure brand safety and data privacy while driving top performance, especially when it comes to kids brands like LEGO & Spin Master.

“Safety online has become one of the most important considerations for brands and marketers when they are planning campaigns — especially when it comes to children’s brands,” said Tony Chen, CEO and founder of Channel Factory. “We pride ourselves on ensuring that brands are appearing in front of the right audience and alongside the right content. That is even more crucial when dealing with kids.”

“Ensuring the safety of children online is of the utmost importance to Spin Master, a leader in children’s entertainment. We believe in working with partners and technologies that are certified to ensure the safety of children through their advertising practices. Channel Factory’s kidSAFE certification 4 helps kids’ brands rest assured that an independent 3rd party has given their stamp of approval to the technology in use.” 

Channel Factory offers a number of benefits for brands that want to reach kids and their parents online. Brands have the freedom to choose content tailored to kids and completely customize video, channel, topic and keyword campaigns for kids. A partnership ensures that brands are in full compliance with regional and Google-level child privacy protection guides and are brand safe and suitable as measured by IAS and DV.

Our kidSAFE+ Seal is a promise to all stakeholders that our technology affects. This certification comes months after Channel Factory announced The Conscious Project, our fight to create a more suitable video ecosystem. Part of creating a better digital experience online is ensuring kids are safe.








What Consumers Think About Conscious Advertising

What Consumers Think About Conscious Advertising

Small black silhouette of a person staring at a colorful galaxy of stars in the sky

Conscious advertising has received a lot of airtime in corporate boardrooms this past year. Media agencies such as Havas, GroupM and M&C Saatchi, along with brands like the Body Shop and Channel Factory itself, have all become members of the Conscious Advertising Network, with brands like Coca Cola and Unilever even pausing ad spend to ensure they were supporting the right type of media across social platforms.

The question is, do consumers care whether brands are more conscious of the choices they make in their media investments?

We put that question to 1000 U.S. consumers in a survey earlier this year, and the results are conclusive: consumers want brands to vote with their wallets and ensure they are monetizing the right type of content.1

What Are Consumers Saying?

“What we hear from consumers is that they care what kind of content their favourite brands are funding, what they are supporting and how their investments reflect their values,” said Stevan Randjelovic, director of brand safety and digital risk with GroupM. 

Our research found that 69% of consumers would prefer to buy from brands committed to socially conscious causes such as donating to charities, taking a stand on climate change or ensuring their corporate culture supports inclusivity and diversity.1 

They also want brands to help make the web a safe and more positive place, with 68% preferring to buy from brands who are committed to making online environments more positive, while almost two-thirds would prefer to buy from brands who are committed to making online environments more diverse and inclusive.

Furthermore, they want brands to make more deliberate decisions about the relevance of their ads to the content they run on. Contextual targeting is key, as 73% of consumers would be more likely to buy from brands whose ads are relevant to the content they’re consuming on YouTube.1

How Does Conscious Advertising Work?

It starts with the brands and the agencies. “Brands are thinking about media investment in terms of their corporate social responsibility” says Joshua Lowcock, EVP, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer with Universal McCann Worldwide, who joined Channel Factory on stage at the Brand Safety Summit in 2020.”They are trying to reflect ethical, value-based decisions about what’s positive and good for society in their media buying.”

At Channel Factory, we look at conscious advertising like this: a conscious advertiser is one that contributes to a safer, more diverse and inclusive digital ecosystem – by making intentional decisions about media investments and considering relevancy when choosing the audience they wish to target.

What About Conscious Advertising on Social Platforms?

According to research we conducted last year, people are looking for more positive content online. 80% of consumers come to platforms like YouTube to improve their mood.1 On top of that, they want brands to serve them ads that both boost and align with their mood.2 

The mood-shifting allure of social platforms has a lot to do with the people responsible for the content – the creators. Conscious advertising, therefore, requires decisions about them. 58% of consumers would stop watching a YouTube channel if they discovered the creator supported causes they don’t agree with.1

Over half of consumers stated they would have a negative opinion of brands who run their ads on content made by creators whose social values they disagree with. It’s up to brands, then, to avoid creators whose content reflects values their target consumers can’t get on board with. 

It’s tricky though. Social media platforms allow users to post whatever they want. Platforms like YouTube remove universally agreed upon bad actors and content, but the rest is up to brands. 

Brands employ brand safety tools to avoid content which is universally agreed upon to be inappropriate, and brand suitability to ensure their ads run in content that aligned with their unique brand image. 

Conscious advertising requires brands to go one step further. It demands that they tap into their core values and ladder their monetization decisions to those values. Even if consumers disagree, the brand can remain confident in their position because the values are consciously written into their DNA. 

When brands run their ads on content, they monetize it. That monetization reflects a decision by them, and it reflects on what they stand for. And consumers, it seems, are paying attention.


1: Consumer Sentiment and Conscious Advertising, 2021, n1000, US 18-65

2: Content Consumption and Consumer Sentiment Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, 2020, n1000, US 18-65