Channel Factory Grows Team

Channel Factory’s global growth has fueled the need to ensure the company has an executive team in place to deliver against strategic goals. Adding to our leadership team is a part of our growth strategy to ensure we are creating the right leadership structure to continue to drive significant growth in EMEA, APAC, and the Americas.

In the US, we are promoting and hiring key members to the sales, strategy and client solutions teams to deliver the right strategies to our key advertisers. Channel Factory’s global growth has prompted new hires and promotions necessary to bolster the executive team in order to deliver against strategic goals and forward-looking visions. The key moves are outlined below:

Jed Hartman has been promoted to the role of President, Americas. He will be overseeing sales, marketing, and client solutions to create an end to end team capable of delivering  comprehensive solutions for brands and agencies. Hartman joined Channel Factory in 2019 as Chief Commercial Officer, bringing experience leading commercial and revenue teams at Washington Post, Time Inc., and Dennis Publishing. He will now expand his remit to further drive growth in the Americas.  Jed’s cutting edge experience across advertising, publishing and corporate brand strategy drive awareness, adoption, and customer satisfaction with global brands and agencies for Channel Factory. Jed lives in Connecticut with his wife, daughter, and dogs Archie and Allie.

Mattias Spetz now expands his management role and is President of EMEA and APAC. Mattias is a veteran of digital video innovation, building mobile-first digital video advertising products at Smartclip before YouTube even launched its first ad formats. Drawing on experience across the digital, OTT and broadcast TV ecosystem, Mattias joined Channel Factory to nurture what had been missing in his previous roles: using awesome technology and a strong team to improve the overall health and values of the digital video advertising ecosystem. When he’s not raising digital tides, he’s spending time with wife, two kids and friends watching ice hockey.

Jeremy Haft

Jeremy Haft, Channel Factory’s Chief Revenue Officer, is responsible for accelerating the North American growth and revenue plans for Channel Factory and advancing the company’s sales approach, strategy, and new revenue streams. He joins Channel Factory in February 2021, moving from Amobee, where he served as SVP of Sales working across North American brands and agencies to consolidate cross channel media activation through programmatic solutions. Prior to Amobee, Haft helped build and scale businesses, transform sales strategies and amplify revenue growth for Viant, Visible Measures, Lotame, and MediaPost. Jeremy lives in New Jersey and in his spare time he enjoys traveling to tropical locations, cooking feasts with friends, and any new fitness trend he can get his hands on

Robin Zieme has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer. The role will see Robin develop and execute strategic initiatives to drive further financial growth and client acquisition in line with the company’s overall vision. Robin is a true innovator, with roots across both the buy and sell side of the digital ad ecosystem. Robin’s deep experience includes running agency trading deals at Amobee and leading Adconion’s video efforts internationally and across North America. He now drives leading-edge advertising technology solutions, always creating new ideas and solving problems for Channel Factory. Robin helps build and create multinational opportunities and strike deals that help drive Channel Factory’s vision of creating a better digital video ecosystem for advertisers, users, and creators. Robin lives in the southern forests of Sweden with his wife and three children.

Jenny Chau

Jenny Chau has been promoted to Chief Solutions Officer. Jenny was previously SVP of Strategy and Client Operations. She joined Channel Factory in 2015. A digital technology industry veteran, Jenny oversees Channel Factory’s Client Solutions team. She is a media strategy guru that achieves client satisfaction across a wide variety of verticals and regions. Prior to joining Channel Factory, Jenny was busy refining her skills at major, award-winning agencies such as OMD, GroupM, and Horizon Media. Jenny lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids Mia and Teddy, as well as their dogs Shortie and Peanut. When she’s not ensuring Channel Factory’s clients are receiving superior outcomes, she’s cooking and doing arts & crafts with Teddy, building forts and playing peekaboo with Mia.

Eren Pamir

Eren Pamir has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Eren previously held the role of Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development, joining the team in 2019. Eren has over 15 years of experience working in the financial sector, beginning in mergers & acquisitions at Lazard Freres, and moving on to hedge funds and fintech startup Seek Capital before joining Channel Factory where he focuses on building out the company’s investments and financial strategy. Eren lives with his wife in Los Angeles, with their dog Bruno. Eren is an avid hiker, gourmet food and wine enthusiast, and also volunteers with the Anti-Defamation League.

CES 2021 – The Digital Advertising Takeaways

CES went digital this year, but it didn’t disappoint. Along with our 2021 predictions, here are some digital advertising trends to consider as the new year kicks into gear.

TV Declines & CTV Evolves

The decline of the TV upfront is permanent. 33% less spend was planned in 2020, a digital advertising trend that is set to continue.  Networks and broadcasters are looking to bring together multi-screen TV inventory under one roof. This will help them improve their offerings and cushion their bottom line. NBCU’s One Platform product is a good example.

Brand Suitability + Social Responsibility

“The inevitable future of digital advertising will enable brands to programmatically define what kind of programming they want to be associated with” according to Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer. 

2020 caused many brands to think about where their ads run and what they say. Pritchard said P&G plans to focus on transparency, brand suitability and brand safety. The goal? To “evaluate every single aspect of our media ecosystem and make sure that our ads are showing up in a place that is safe.”

Marketing Effectiveness

Slimmer budgets in 2020 and a slightly uncertain start to the year is causing marketers to seek out digital advertising channels with solid measurement. 

“Nearly every advertiser in the world is more deliberate about the choices that they make,” said Jeff Green, CEO of The Trade Desk. On platforms like YouTube, where brands often waste up to 30% of their spend on contextually misaligned ads, brands will be getting more deliberate about their digital marketing spend in 2021.

Retail Revolution

Curbside pick-up and home delivery have become a critical piece of companies’ logistics puzzles. The pandemic has normalized new retail realities, with brands such as Best Buy and Burger King revealing plans for stores which focus on digital fulfillment. They also plan to reserve physical shelf-space primarily for best-selling products for the in-person shopper.

Contactless but still Human

Brands definitely need to provide contactless options across all channels. However, once the lockdowns relax, marketers will need to account for human interaction to maintain customer relationships and loyalty. 

The key is striking the right balance. “Brands will need to find the balance between touchless while providing some human touch when it comes to servicing. And those that do this will emerge as the winners,” said Mastercard’s Cheryl Guerin, Worldwide EVP, North America Marketing and Communications.

Revenge Spending

Even though spending on indulgences has soared, people are saving up their money for when things return to normal. As a result, purchase intent is growing – and not just for obvious no-go areas such as travel.

“There’s pent-up demand that’s going to lead to increased spending across many categories, electronics, clothing, technology, luxury goods, cars and even home renovations to create more space. And over half of people in the survey are looking to buy something that’s just for them to treat themselves”, says Guerin again

The Digital Marketing Calendar

COVID dropped us into a bit of a twilight zone. Delayed seasonal celebrations and fewer holiday markers, such a retail window dressing, upended the traditional seasonal digital advertising calendar.

“The implication is don’t think in conventional timelines,” said Harris Poll CEO, John Gerzema. In response, marketers will need to be agile to adapt and respond to things as they are happening rather than relying on the usual way of planning.

The Self-Improvement Boom

Self care has shifted front and center for many. Whether gifting more often, up-skilling and learning, getting fit at home, this is a big opportunity for marketers.

On YouTube, TV screen watch time of videos related to well-being, including yoga, fitness, and meditation, has increased more than 180% from July 2019 to July 2020.

And the same is true of learning: watch time on TV screens of videos related to learning more than doubled between July 2019 and July 2020. Cooking tutorials were one of the most popular learning categories.

What IS Entertainment?

Social media and TikTok specifically are further blurring the line between traditional entertainment and the content appearing on social media platforms.

As TV viewership dips, and more people flock to social video channels, everything from snackable entertainment to appointment viewing will be increasingly driven by user-generated content.


Once an outlier, eSports is a force to be reckoned with and a lot of growth in the industry is expected this year. 

Up until now, eSports leagues have been light on their sponsorship and digital advertising strategies. That’s likely to change. Everything from custom player-activated ads to embedding marketers’ messages directly into the games via platforms like Bidstack will increase. YouTube’s will be giving viewers the ability to shop items featured in videos directly from the platform. That’s likely to encourage brands to look at their influencer marketing budget with renewed enthusiasm.


1,2: YouTube Internal Data, Global, July 2019–July 2020.

Top Ten Predictions for Digital Video Advertising in 2021

2020 was a year of change, including changes in how people consume content, prompting soul searching and updates from the biggest brands. Think about Coca-Cola pulling out of social media for a time, until they ultimately recalibrated and invested in a more conscious way after months of internal review of how to ensure their values and investment strategies matched.  As 2021 gets underway, we compiled the top 10 digital video advertising market trends to keep an eye on.

1. Cookies Continue to Crumble

A driving force behind the last 20 years of ad revenue growth, the cookie will continue to use its lustre as Google implements changes to Chrome, following other browsers like Mozilla and Safari, and eliminating cookies by 2022.  The voice of the consumer will drive brands to shift their focus to contextual, which uses content as a more effective proxy of consumer interest (eg. Peloton may choose to run ads against workouts or health and wellness channels).

2. Data Ethics

The infamous rise of conspiracy theories and fake news have raised awareness of how data and technology can be used to create a more inclusive, diverse, and truth seeking digital world. Platforms will be forced to take ever more clear cut positions on what types of content they allow on their platforms, as well as how their algorithms promote this often viral content (eg. Android & IOS banning Parlor).

3. Contextual Grows in Maturity

Aided by the cookie’s disappearance, contextual targeting will grow in both importance and in maturity. Contextual targeting helps brands target content specifically aligned with their message and ethos. 

Research by Channel Factory has shown that ads running on content that is aligned with the ad (like M&M with M&M unboxing videos) drives up to 93% better recall than audience targeting-only tactics

4. Brand Safety, Customized

Brand safety has emerged as a primary KPI in most brand’s media plans and the cost of oversight is clear. GroupM’s 2020 survey of 14,000 consumers found that 64% develop a negative view of a brand when its ads appear next to inappropriate content.

The next evolution of brand safety lies in its customization to the brand’s unique image, message, and markets.  Brands will look to providers to help navigate platforms with high volume and velocity through the lens of their specific brand image and values.

5. More Responsible Media Buying

“Brands are thinking about media investment in terms of their corporate social responsibility and are trying to reflect ethical, value-based decisions about what’s positive and good for society in their media buying” says Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer at UM Worldwide. 

In a 2018 Conscious Consumer Spending index, on a scale of 1-10, most consumers ranked themselves 7 or 8 in terms of their social consciousness when shopping, and that number is only going to grow. 2020 prompted corporate reflection on systemic inequality across the societal spectrum, and brands are beginning to include both creative messaging as well as media investment to reflect their corporate values.

6. Focus on Performance Efficiency

A perfect storm of factors has put performance efficiency – price and ROI – front and center for brands: the economic contraction, pressure on businesses to digitize their retail capabilities in light of reduced offline shopping behaviors, and the growing number of lower funnel products appearing to cater to such models such as YouTube for Shopping.  

As contextual targeting and customized brand safety techniques improve, brands are beginning to see how as much as 30% of their impressions have historically run on content that’s either irrelevant or unsuitable. In 2021, brands will be looking to maximize  their effective reach and increase what many are coming to call their qCPM, or quality CPM, which is the actual cost to their business of running on content that aligned with their brand.

7. News is Back on the Menu

The incessant stream of bad news in 2020 caused many brands to scale back their media spending on the category. 

However, in a survey released by the Trustworthy Accountability Group in December, 40% of consumers said all news content should be appropriate for ads. IAB research released in October also found 84% of consumers feel advertising within the news increases or maintains brand trust.  While consumers are divided around advertising on certain stories – involving violence, death, policy, societal changes – in 2021, brands will be on the lookout for a more curated approach to the news as the medium continues to pull in users transfixed by the 24 hours news cycle. 

8. Audio-Driven Advertising 

Audio has never been hotter. Audio streaming increased 32% in 2020, with households upping their daily listening by an average of 54 minutes. Whether multi-tasking, jogging, or beginning to commute again, brands will be looking for ways to maximize audio-consumption as an advertising medium with its own creative best practices

Consumers spend more time on YouTube streaming music and podcasts than on any other digital platform. And YouTube just unveiled its new audio ad unit, and early tests show promise: Shutterfly drove above benchmark lifts of 14 percent lift in ad recall and 2 percent lift in favorability among their target audience.

YouTube Holiday Season Data

(YouTube Holiday Season Data Reprinted from the original, in AdWeek here)

The 2020 holidays are missing their usual cheer as people scramble to adapt traditions and email their Christmas lists to Santa so he can browse the web for the best deals.

Almost three-quarters of shoppers polled in Channel Factory’s holiday season survey said they will take to the internet to find gifts for loved ones this year, with more than 30% starting their shopping earlier than usual (even as far back as October). Only half said they expect to spend as much as in previous years.

“In crises, decades happen in days, and nowhere has a trend been more amplified than in ecommerce, where in September alone we saw a 43% lift in online sales from the prior year,” said Channel Factory SVP, Global Marketing, Lauren Douglass.

Shoppers are also leaning on connected TV like YouTube to find products, with 40% saying they discovered something new to buy through ads on the video platform. One in three people are actively seeking out YouTube for gift ideas (as well as home decor inspiration), and 32% attributed a holiday gift choice to YouTube.

Click to enlarge our Holiday Season Data image:

YouTube Performance Efficiency

If we learned anything from YouTube marketers in 2020 it’s that they want managed outcomes and performance efficiency. More than 50% of brands bringing their programmatic buying in-house and agencies face common pressures. Streamline operations, drive performance efficiency, and offer performance-driven outcomes. Channel Factory has been helping brands and agencies achieve all of this for years.

Operational Ease

It takes a lot of data to ensure campaigns are optimized against all your KPIs. Over 500 hours of new content is uploaded every minute to YouTube. The only way to track all that data is within a continually updated YouTube DMP. That’s a hefty cost and personnel overhead for most advertisers. It’s easier to keep your team slim and bring in the experts. 

At Channel Factory our proprietary ViewIQ technology scans over 18 million videos every day against all historical performance data from a decade of campaigns. ViewIQ is an entire team in itself. Its machine-learning algorithms are constantly being trained by expert, hands-on media buyers, account managers and strategists to optimize campaigns toward optimal YouTube performance efficiency. 

YouTube Performance Efficiency

There are a lot of variables to consider on the open auction. In our experience failure to arbitrage expertise and data cost advertisers between 20% and 100% in additional spend. For example, while it’s common knowledge that prices go down at the end of buying cycles (months, quarters, years), certain tentpole buying seasons buck those trends. Think Back to School, the Super Bowl, summer movie releases and, in 2020, the U.S. election. In 2020 we managed to deliver incredible value for our Q4 advertisers despite significant holiday season traffic on YouTube. 

Dynamic pacing is key to YouTube performance efficiency.  Most advertisers serve their ads evenly across the entire campaign, which means ignoring critical price signals and paying dearly.  Utilizing algorithms and hands on keyboards, at Channel Factory we use dynamic delivery to ensure ads are serving only in the most favorable pricing conditions. The result is specifically designed to both increase engagement and pricing efficiency. And it also means exceeding delivery expectations.

At Channel Factory, 10 years of campaign experience across industry sectors and countries has helped us identify the optimal buying conditions for the open auction. Whenever we build campaigns, we’re using a combination of these insights as well as hard performance data to select content suited to your KPIs.  That means, before your campaign has even begun, we’ve already cherry-picked the top performing YouTube content based on historical knowledge. 

Performance Outcomes

There are hundreds of possible combinations of YouTube ad products, tactics and add-ons all designed to achieve specific outcomes. Whether its brand awareness, consideration, action, or all three, the portfolio of ad formats and extensions is always growing. It helps to work with a partner who knows which combinations drive the specific outcome you’re looking for.

For example, within the auto-sector you can drive cheaper but fewer conversions using Google’s custom-intent audiences, or more expensive but a higher volume of conversions with customized contextual alignments. Combinations of TrueView for Action with store location extensions can work well 

Pricing Efficiency with Managed Outcomes

With Channel Factory, brands and agencies benefit from operational ease, YouTube performance efficiency, and performance-driven outcomes as well as round-the-clock, white-glove customer service.

How to Prep for CTV Inventory Shortage and What to do Next

Ad-supported inventory for some connected TV streaming (CTV streaming) services is almost gone. Projections for 2024 are estimating over 140.1 million viewers, yet inventory demand has outweighed supply.1 Why? Because the reach of the ad-supported streaming providers simply cannot meet the demand. 

The Issue with CTV Inventory

Advertisers should consider moving their connected TV (CTV) dollars into YouTube. YouTube is the largest ad supported CTV provider globally and its platform offers much more scale than any of the other ad-supported CTV services.YouTube connected TV also offers better targeting, unique non-ad supported and incremental broadcast reach opportunities. Not to mention brand suitability advantages.

Despite accounting for 83% of all streaming hours, of the “Big 5” streaming players – Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu and Disney+ – only Hulu is ad supported. The remainder of CTV streaming happens through a growing ecosystem of ad-supported platforms like Hulu, Roku, Tubi, PlutoTV and Peacock, as well as a handful of other smaller services such as TiVo+ and Redbox.

According to a report by Innovid and the ANA, these platforms are “still in the beginning stages of adopting CTV inventory and building the infrastructure needed to support CTV buys at scale.”2   Most CTV ad buys take place directly, and are bought quickly.  

The bigger problem isn’t how you buy it, but rather the scale of the platforms themselves.

Why YouTube CTV?

YouTube is the largest CTV app. It out-scales its competitors by almost a factor of 2. Over 100 million watch it on the big screen every month3, while Hulu comes in second at 58 million total subscribers4. The other players trail off in the distance: Roku (43 million subscribers)5, Tubi (33 million subscribers)6, Pluto TV (26.5 million subscribers)7 and Peacock (15 million subscribers)8.

What are the Benefits of CTV inventory?

On YouTube, the content never dries up. YouTube creators publish 500 hours every minute. In December 2021 Youtube reached over 135 million people via CTV.9 In 2021 over 50% of ad-supported streaming on CTV came from Youtube.10 

YouTube streams things like Major League Baseball and has captured more than 600 million views on the main U.S. late-night talk shows. The video platform also nurtures huge fandoms for broadcast TV shows.  Views on the official YouTube channels for the NFL and WWE as well as on content created by YouTube creators about both sports were about 22 times higher than the broadcasts themselves.11
Even non-ad-supported shows are accessible on YouTube. Netflix’s Stranger Things pulls in about 25+million viewers per season and YouTube Stranger Things-related content pulls in over 300 million views.12

Ad Opportunities

On YouTube CTV advertising with the right partner, you can run 6,15 and 30-second ads opposite contextually customized, brand-suitable YouTube videos and channels.

Non-YouTube CTV inventory is mostly unskippable 30-second spots and targeting is much less specific. Advertisers have a limited variety of demographic, geographic, content viewer habits, and linear TV household mimicking targeting options, with contextual options still in their infancy and no real brand safety or brand suitability controls.13 

YouTube Offers Brand Suitable, Contextually Aligned Ad Performance

YouTube’s targeting advantage also helps drive performance. As we’ve seen not only can contextual alignment drive up to 93% better brand awareness 14, but YouTube ads consumed on CTV devices can deliver up to 47% lift in ad recall and 35% in purchase intent.15

As we move forward, advertisers who want more contextual control over the living room experience should look no further than YouTube—which, unlike other streaming services, is always open for business.



Effective ad creative optimization can make all the difference in your campaign. Studies have shown that ad creative can impact actual sales by up to 50% and effective creative can drive a 2X increase in ROI.1 But in digital, running the same TV spot on YouTube could negatively affect your success. Consider the range of YouTube content consumption behaviors, ad lengths and formats. If you use TV creative on YouTube, you could be sacrificing performance.

Channel Factory’s creative studio called Channel Studio can help brands take their TV hero assets and give them the edge they need to drive success.  Here are the top 4 reasons why brands need a creative variation and cutdown strategy.

1. Adopt Your Story Arc for YouTube

Brands who rely on repurposing their TV creative on YouTube will likely see their video completion rates suffer. “Like it or not, the ad industry’s traditional approach to a story arc—beginning, middle, and end in a 30-second spot—is a thing of the past,” says Tara Walpert, VP of Agency and Brand Solutions at Google. 

Brands should consider developing a YouTube specific creative strategy by cutting down their existing creatives and testing multiple variations. This kind of creative optimization will likely drive significantly higher video completion rates, driving long term effectiveness and performance efficiency.

2. Device Consumption Should Impact Creative Choices

YouTube is not the same as broadcast TV, and YouTube is also not consumed in one single way. When designing creative for a digital first experience, it’s important to consider the variety of devices on which viewers will be seeing ads and adjust accordingly. While approximately 70% of YouTube views come through mobile devices, as of March 2020 comScore reported that 21% of all streaming hours on CTV devices were spent on YouTube.2 

Watching YouTube on an iPhone vs. watching from the comfort of your sofa on a big screen are worlds apart. Ads on the big screen can generate up to 47% lifts in ad recall, but slightly different rules apply. Remember, you can’t click a TV. That means, (1) YouTube CTV viewers don’t tend to skip ads and (2) you’ll want to think about your calls-to-action for that device. So when crafting your CTV strategy, have non-skippable 15 and 30 second ads in your back pocket. 

For mobile, a user is consuming on a small screen, and may only pay attention for a few seconds. Having your brand reveal come after 15 seconds simply won’t work on mobile. Brands should consider having their logos populate earlier or stay in view the entire ad.

3. There’s More Than One Ad Format 

YouTube advertisers can choose between 6 second bumpers, skippable and non-skippable 15 and 30 second ad formats. Using shorter, non-skippable ads to drive reach and ensure consumer attention vs. giving people the option to skip after 5 seconds might both warrant different creative approaches. 

Within each ad format, advertisers want to consider how best to optimize their original hero assets, and consider when to overlay their logos as well as YouTube calls-to-action. 

“When you think about all the different YouTube creative lengths, it’s not so much a question of this vs. that. It’s thinking about how all the components work together,” says Google’s Creative Director, Eugene Buono who joined Channel Factory on a recent panel about creative pivots in 2020. “Whether it’s media and entertainment or consumer goods, there’s a story to tell, and there’s a time and a place for each of these different components depending on where users are and the signals they’re sending out.” 

4. A/B Testing Drives Creative Effectiveness

When they participated in a study conducted by Oracle for their Pedigree pet food brand, Mars tested a video opening with strong branding vs. one that saved the branding for the end. They learned the upfront branded video drove nearly 7x better sales lift.3  That’s the power of creative optimization.

Testing video ad creative can be time-consuming and expensive when brands have to handle the cut downs and variations in-house or find creative agencies not involved in the actual media buying component of the campaign. 

5. A World of Dynamic Creative Optimization

Further, at the campaign level, the process can be repetitive and manual for many users. However, when it’s incorporated as an added value component of a managed service, with video and channel level targeting, it’s easy to get results and quickly optimize towards the better performing content.

According to Eugene Buono, “when some big cultural phenomenon happens, brands and agencies want to be on top of that. From a brand suitability, as well as from a creative messaging perspective.” Adopting a versatile, adaptable creative strategy is key to advertising in a fast-paced and globally-connected world where messaging and tone shifts can happen overnight.  

Advertisers on YouTube have a vast array of dynamic creative optimization tools to choose from, across a variety of devices. Channel factory offers added value creative edits for brands to help their YouTube creative optimization. The offer, called Channel Studio, gives brands a way of making the most of their already existing creative, without simply recycling their TV spot. As an added value component of our end-to-end managed service campaigns, this kind of creative editing adaptability isn’t just worthwhile, it’s essential to capturing consumer attention in a competitive ecosystem. 

For more information on Channel Studio, check out the overview here, or contact for more detail.


  1. comScore ARS Global Validation Summary, comScore, October 2010; Nielsen Catalina Solutions, Nearly 500 campaigns across all media platforms, 2016-Q1 2017
  2. YouTube Press Page; Comscore, ConnectedTV: Share of OTT Hours by Service
  3. Google/Oracle Data Cloud Sales Lift Meta Analysis, US (TrueView CPG campaigns tested between April 2015 and March 2016)

Channel Science: Brand Safety, Suitability & Performance by Channel Factory & Integral Ad Science

Advertisers today have many considerations when it comes to YouTube. Are my ads reaching the right person? Against the right content? Am I only running on brand safe videos and channels? In the past, brands had to work across multiple partners to achieve their goals. With today’s announcement that Channel Factory and IAS will be collaborating on brand safety to create Channel Science. Now brands will now have an end to end solution to ensure they can achieve their goals on YouTube. 

What is Channel Science? Channel Science is an industry-leading offering in partnership with Integral Ad Science that enables advertisers to have the most complete YouTube brand safety and suitability optimization solution on the market. One product integrating two industry partners, Channel Science allows advertisers to maximize both companies’ tech platforms to guarantee their YouTube TrueView campaigns are at their safest, most brand-suitable and performance-driven. 

“We are thrilled to announce the world’s first combined verification and performance optimization solution for YouTube advertisers. Partnerships that offer power solutions like this one save time and money for advertisers are absolutely crucial in today’s world. Advertisers need an end-to-end solution to manage the quality and performance of YouTube buys while saving time and money,” said Lisa Utzschneider, Chief Executive Officer, IAS. 

Both YouTube Measurement Partners (YTMP), Channel Factory and IAS deliver unique value in creating a solution brands and agencies can trust. Channel Factory offers best-in-class curation of YouTube content and an ad performance-driven approach, while IAS gives advertisers video- and channel- level brand safety. Together, Channel Factory and IAS give advertisers Channel Science—a potent, one-stop solution for YouTube TrueView advertising. 

Channel Science offers advertisers: 

  • Peace of mind knowing they are investing in the most suitable YouTube channels and videos by combining the best in brand safety (IAS) with the best contextual targeting solution (Channel Factory) on YouTube 
  • An end-to-end, continually optimized campaign that delivers real outcomes, like increased click through rates, view through rates, and reduced costs 
  • Improved outcomes by investing in high performing media that ensures brand suitability and simultaneously reduces ad waste
  • Verification and monitoring from IAS to confirm the campaign’s brand safety

“We are incredibly excited to partner with IAS to combine expertise, innovation, and technology to help advertisers achieve their brand safety, brand suitability, and ROI goals in one product from two trusted YTMP partners,” said Tony Chen, CEO of Channel Factory.

For more information on Channel Science, download our one sheet here

Blocklists, Inclusion Lists and Everything In-Between (Part 2)


By Mattias Spetz, MD, Europe

Last week we discussed the nuance of having a blocklist approach that does not overly exclude content (here). On YouTube, keyword blocklists uploaded into GoogleAds or DV 360 are exact match only – on their own, they will act as a blunt instrument and block content without regard for context. 

Channel Factory uses keyword blocklists as one part of a multi-pronged approach to delivering brand suitable, efficient YouTube advertising and, in our experience, it must begin at the pre-bid phase of a campaign where inventory selection and pre-optimization is most critical.


Step One – Brand Suitability Parameters

It’s essential for brands to craft an approach that works for them. Brand suitability is all about selecting highly specific content adjacencies and contextual alignments that meet potential customers and brand-loyalists in the right places within YouTube’s massive video ecosystem. Certain contexts work better for certain brands, and that differs by market, by language, and so on. The only way to finetune that resonant environment-building is by sitting down and deciding what contexts work best align with a brand’s values.

Step Two – Ongoing Analysis of Inventory

Channel Factory’s proprietary technology is always-on, always curating content from within YouTube’s constant user-generated content machine. Campaign success occurs as much at the pre-bid phase as it does mid-flight.

Keyword blacklists (approximately 155,000 words in total) are updated regularly in 36 languages to account for real-time, real-world events. They cycle constantly within our technology and data platform, ViewIQ, flagging and categorizing all undesirable content and identifying the highest quality inventory for use in client campaigns. 

These blacklists look at all the content signals available within videos and channels, which includes a whole host of metadata (titles, tags, descriptions), as well as the audio tracks of the videos themselves. Unlike exact match keyword blacklists used in live campaigns, these advanced blacklists are capable of detecting context from natural language cues. 

Brand unsuitable content is tagged at the keyword, channel, topic and video-level and used to guide inclusion list curation, as well as generate video-level and keyword blacklists calibrated to suit a particular brand and run dynamically within campaigns for ultimate suitability and scale. 

Step Three – Inclusion Lists Drive Brand Suitable, Contextual Performance

Inclusion lists help brands curate brand suitable, trusted environments to advertise within. However, smart use of blacklists is a pivotal part of that strategy. 

Inclusion lists are built from the constant cycling of inventory through brand suitability filters. Once these highly refined, pre-bid optimized channel and video lists are built out, however, that’s not the end of the story.

Inclusion lists need to be updated continually throughout a campaign. Otherwise what we see is a steady increase of CPV/CPM as brands keep bidding against the same static inclusion list inventory. It also affects scale as well as relevance – by bidding against static content, brands run the risk of missing out on new, viral highly relevant and engaging content.

Fortunately, blacklists are always running in the background, distilling the best content and extracting the brand unsuitable to ensure there’s always new inventory available for the multiple inclusion list iterations it takes to drive dynamic contextual performance on YouTube.

Step Four – Video-Level Blocklists

Once brands have guaranteed pre-bid optimized inclusion lists which target suitable, aligned content and in-market audiences their campaigns run alongside highly specific video-level and keyword blocklists. 

Video-level blocklists enable brands to buy against channels that make overall sense for them, but which have the odd video that sits outside their brand suitability parameters. Without using this technique, brands otherwise have to write off entire channels worth of scale just to avoid one lone wolf video. 

Keyword blocklists at this stage in the brand suitability provide “air cover” for a “ground force” of highly curated inclusion list inventory. In-flight keyword blacklists are highly brand-customized and, thanks to pre-bid curation,  they’re not the only hope of campaign brand suitability once a campaign is live.

COVID-19 Blocklisting

As far as COVID-19 content adjacencies are concerned, our clients have taken varying approaches to brand suitability for coronavirus related content. Some of our clients are fine with appearing next to this type of content – in fact some advertisers actively seek it out. However, for some brands it is the right approach to avoid it. A lot of these decisions are driven by an understanding of their consumer, as well as the brand’s creative messaging at this time. For example, brands helping to amplify the WHO’s  messaging by providing educational content might find news adjacencies ideally suited to them and their customer’s content consumption choices. 

Early on in this crisis we shared a Coronavirus keyword list with all our clients and other advertisers to help them target or de-target content related to COVID-19 as they see fit.

In Sum

Clumsy blocklisting is a real concern, but that’s only when it’s the only method by which advertisers are driving brand suitability in their campaigns. A lot rests on contextual analysis capabilities and ongoing strategic media planning considerations. 

At Channel Factory, we’ve refined a inclusion listing methodology which introduces the very best in contextual sophistication. This approach is key to aligning brands, publishers/content creators and consumer stakeholders especially during times where those value systems are in constant flux.


Creative Pivots In Constantly Changing Times

Top advertisers revise creative on average once every 10.4 days, but nothing could have prepared them for the creative revisions demanded by the first half of 2020. The quarantine lockdown prompted massive rethinks at every brand marketing department and agency worldwide about the organic and ad creative produced prior to March now lying on the cutting room floor. 

Creative brand pivots in the digital realm was the topic of a recent MMA discussion (you can watch the entire discussion here) between Channel Factory’s Chief Commercial Officer Jed Hartman, Traci Spiegelman Director of Global Media at Mastercard, and Eugene Buono, Google’s West Coast Creative Lead.

“Generally in culture when something happens, brands and agencies want to be on top of that. But it takes time to act quickly, and brands with a heritage of doing that were able to get moving right away” says Eugene Buono, Google’s West Coast Creative Lead. 

While 2020’s creative pivots might have been a shock at a macro-level, brands with sensitivity, empathy and cultural relevance already in their DNA were better prepared for the rapid change demanded by the macro global, civil and economic events unfolding since March. 

Not long into the lockdown, Edelman fielded a survey which found that 55% of consumers said brands and consumers were responding more quickly and effectively than most governments. In addition, it also showed that 71% of consumers agreed that if brands put profit over people, trust in them would disappear forever.

Since that report came out, brand marketers have responded in a variety of ways – some successful, and some less so. In fact, AdAge maintains a regularly updated post of marketers’ responses to the coronavirus.

Traci Spiegelman, Director of Global Media at Mastercard drove home the importance of authenticity in brand message pivots. “Brands need to be able to stand behind and honor core brand values in their creative. They should avoid being something they’re not. At Mastercard, we’re always conscious of how and who we’re talking to, and we lean into the passion points we’ve aligned to over the years.”

Putting Creative In Context

So how do you pair authentic, empathic, value-driven ad creative with the content that it runs on across digital? Devising media plans that make sense for individual advertisers requires a little little soul-searching and it’s entirely conceivable that what works for some might not work for others.  

Taking YouTube as an example, Jed Hartman, Channel Factory’s Chief Commercial Officer, and someone whose own career has pivoted between the publisher, the brand and the tech side, pointed out that “one thing that makes YouTube interesting is that you have that one-to-one ratio of content to ad. This means that brands want to ensure their newly adapted creative runs opposite content that not only works for its targeting and performance, but is also aligned with the tenor and intention of the creative message.”

In order to better understand and control where their ads run, advertisers have very quickly had to learn the new vernacular, updating their blocklists with a range of keywords across the health and social justice spectrum. On top of that, they’ve had to revise their inclusion lists to confirm the types of content they formerly embraced are still environments that best serve their business and their message.

And once the media plans have been reviewed, it’s over to the campaign to serve as a testing ground for new creatives in a new normal. Just like brands have multiple products and services, so do they have a variety of ad formats to use in order to test and optimize their multi-market messages. 

“When you think about all the different YouTube creative lengths, it’s not so much a question of this vs. that. It’s thinking about how all the components work together,” shared Eugene, who sits within Google’s creative innovation team. “Whether it’s media and entertainment or consumer goods, there’s a story to tell, and there’s a time and a place for each of these different components depending on where users are and the signals they’re sending out.” 

Brands are always adapting, and the cultural conversation is always changing, but 2020 really drove home the importance of infusing brand culture with the expectation that things could change on a dime. Digital video offers brands a powerful place to test and adapt at speeds and with data that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere. It’s time to fully explore those opportunities.