Brand Safety First - Crunch Simply Digital - A Google Premier Partner

Brand Safety First

Richard Purvis, Founder & Director of Crunch Simply Digital

Last week, Google publicly apologised to advertisers and consumers following online adverts appearing next to extreme content. In summary, Google has admitted that its exclusion tools do not go far enough and they need to do more to improve their ad placement system.

Brand safety comes first and we work closely with our clients to set brand safety thresholds for each campaign. YouTube operates its own buying tool as part of the AdWords system and has its own classification system for content. The system allows the media buyer to exclude content in the following categories; adult, unrated, sensitive social, tragedy and conflict. What is unclear for the media buyer using the AdWords system is exactly how google categorises its exclusions.

The subject of brand safety is not new; at Crunch, we have invested heavily in brand safety partners such as Double Verify, Meetrics, Grapeshot and Adlooks to ensure we attain the highest possible levels of brand and fraud safety.

Although no system is currently perfect, these technology suppliers are 100% focused on combating fraud and inappropriate content. They can do so with incredibly high degrees of accuracy if the publisher allows it, and here lies the issue with YouTube.

Google will not allow the full suite of ad checking that the clear majority of publishers around the globe do. Google is focused on creating and curating its own systems and in effect created a walled garden. There is a clear need for these media suppliers to open their systems to third party vendor software.

On that, Wayne Gattinella CEO of Double Verify made this statement “What’s galling and frustrating is that Google’s brand safety problems on YouTube and the Google Display Network are mostly resolvable today” he continues “Google has thus far not allowed our blocking tags on their sites, and that is why we’re not technically able to block a customer’s ads from appearing on questionable content on YouTube and GDN the way we are through more than 600 ad-serving platforms.”

We are proud supporters of DV and our other partners, and firmly believe their systems to be robust in tackling this issue. This recent issue is something that is creating healthy debate and may force the walls of the walled-garden media of Google and Facebook to come down.


Brand Safety Policy

Crunch Simply Digital is committed to providing the utmost and highest level of brand protection for advertisers.

We use a dedicated programmable DSP for our programmatic display activity, as opposed to the Google Display Network. This system is extremely advanced and as it’s programmable rather than programmatic, it gives us much more control and power to implement brand safety options.

Within our systems, we use a number of different brand safety technologies including Double Verify, ComScore, and Grapeshot to ensure our client’s adverts only appear on the most relevant content.

As well as the standard brand safety practices, the brands we work with can customise their brand safety. For example, ensuring their adverts aren’t placed on sites where specific words are mentioned. Both Standard and Custom options are outlined below:


Default Brand Safety

  • Intended audience, allowing content suitable for children, young adults, 16+ years
  • Sensitive attributes including political content, social media, photo and video sharing, moderated forums, unmoderated forums, non-English language, streaming media, contextual nudity
  • Content is safe from accidents, alcohol, click-baiting, crime and violence, gambling, health issues, illegal drugs, negative news, NSFW, offensive, online Illegal, porn, terrorism, tobacco, weapons


Custom Brand Safety Options

  • Blacklisting specific domains
  • Blacklisting any sites that include specific keywords
  • Websites can be categorised based upon page quality, noticeability of advertising, and the probability of advertising being above the fold


If you want to know more about brand safety and how Crunch continually reviews advertising regulations, please get in touch.