Ad fraud, unsafe inventory, and inappropriate editorial environments—you need a great partner to protect your brand and investments from the short- and long-term risks that your campaigns face. Thankfully, artificial intelligence has mitigated some of these threats through the creation of sophisticated pre-bid targeting and post-buy verification reporting solutions for brand safety and fraud prevention/detection. Before investing in one of these technologies, here are the top six factors to take into consideration before signing on with a partner.


1. Set your priorities: Before you can make any decisions about who to choose as your partner, you need to prioritize your objectives. Is brand safety top of your list or it is protection from fraud? Could contextual targeting solve your challenges? Or maybe viewability, the confirmation that your ads are actually seen, is most important. How tech-savvy are you—perhaps usability with a fully transparent, multichannel dashboard is what you need to get results. Separating the “must-haves” from the “nice-to-haves” in your list of requirements will make your evaluation more manageable.

2. Detection is protection: Most advertisers consider certain topics harmful to their brand, such as hate crimes, terrorism, and drugs, so detecting and then avoiding them is key. You should be able to get even more specific by category. When evaluating pre-bid safety solutions, make sure they can not only capture commonly used brand safety categories but also enable you to target by vertical and create custom safety categories.

3. The F word: Fraud—it’s an increasingly complex problem. Fraudsters use even more sophisticated methods to ensnare and defraud brands (here are the most common types of ad fraud).  When choosing a provider to protect your media investment, it’s not enough to just keep up: you need a partner that is always one step ahead of the fraudster’s game. Your partner should be able to demonstrate how they are innovating to outwit the newest ad fraud techniques.

4. Context is paramount: Contextual targeting can be a great way to reach your intended audience without having to worry about privacy regulations like GDPR, data collection, and opt-in.  It can also be an effective way to achieve scale, and it is often less costly than third-party data providers. One important thing when looking at contextual targeting partners is how their targeting is accomplished:

  • Do they use a semantic/holistic approach?
  • Does that methodology examine the page level or focus on the solely on the domain?  
  • Is their solution solely reliant on keywords?  

Keyword-based targeting often lacks accuracy, and could lead to irrelevant or potentially harmful ad placement.  

In the English language, one word can have several meanings. Therefore, contextual targeting using a holistic approach versus just keywords is essential. For example, let’s consider the word, “diamond.” Relying on just keywords and not looking deeper at the semantics, your ad for a 2-carat solitaire engagement ring could end up on a page promoting a Neil Diamond concert, or on an exposé on the architectural history of baseball stadiums.  When it’s important to create an emotional response and experience that resonates, the right contextual targeting experience can make all the difference.

5. The importance of post-bid verification: The previous considerations focused on pre-bid targeting capabilities, so let’s consider post-buy verification reporting. Verification is used to describe both the process and the tools used to ensure that your media plan is executed the way you intended. Verification allows you to identify potential or existing problems as well as the hidden gems that could boost performance when adjustments are made within the campaign set-up. Look for a provider that can help you see the full scope of your post-buy activity, one that allows you to see your entire media plan across all channels in one place, and one that offers fully transparent reporting with granular details. While looking at delivery and performance at a high level might be fine, so much can be easily missed that could de-optimize your campaign faster than real-time (bidding).

6. Be picky: When it comes to choosing a pre-bid and/or post-buy solution, it’s important to ask the tough questions. It can be tempting to consolidate with one solution, but you may need different providers to satisfy your pre-bid and post-buy needs: some providers have significantly greater strengths in one area versus another. You may also want to work with one provider on one account, and another partner on the next. There’s no harm in diversification.

Even though our industry moves at hyper-speed,  it’s worth taking your time to find the best pre-bid and post-buy solution(s) that fit your specific needs. Picking the right partner can make a significant difference to your campaign performance which can impact your brands, your client, and your future.


Learn more about the in’s and out’s of of choosing your campaign’s best options for fraud and brand safety by reaching out to your account manager or a Peer39 representative.


Amanda Bleich

Product Marketing Manager