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The opportunity for advertisers to find audiences across multiple publications, regions and sectors responsively and immediately is one of programmatic advertising’s great promises. It’s also freighted with risk when unmanaged, exposing brands to inappropriate, offensive and sometimes illegal placements.

At its extreme, inadequate management of Brand Safety has resulted in accusations of brand-funded terrorism, which is devastating for brand reputations. More frequently, but no less damaging for brands, poor planning techniques or lack of, result in bad placements such as airlines alongside news reports of a plane crash, or confectionary snacks beside stories of juvenile obesity, or ads served to illegal sites infringing, copyright, for example.

ISBA keeps brand safety high on its agenda. It tirelessly represents its members’ interests in wider industry forums to ensure best practice standards are the norm and not the exception. It frequently holds the industry to account over inadequate resources to ensure advertiser placements are not made on inappropriate or illegal websites and not against inappropriate content, contextually or otherwise.

Examples of how ISBA supports advertisers include:

  • Using ISBA's Media Services Framework:
    ISBA has created a member-only Media Service Framework [link] contract template, which covers both content verification and brand safety. At the end of 2017, more than 30% of UK media is now traded or planned to be traded within 12 months, against the Framework.
  • Insist your agency adopts industry best practice:
    JICWEBS: ISBA is a founding member (together with the IPA, AOP and IAB) of the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) which was set up, in part, to reduce the risk of advertising appearing within illegal or inappropriate content online. ISBA has produced guidelines on Brand Safety, Viewability & Online Ad-fraud, which sets out questions to ask your agency, plus a series of tips and tools that brands can use to help protect their online reputation.
  • Infringing Website List (IWL): The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have created the IWL, ‘an online portal containing an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites, identified and evidenced by the creative industries and verified by the City of London Police unit.’ The list is available to anyone involved in the sale and trading of digital advertising. Find out more here.
  • Download ISBA's guidelines on Brand Safety, Viewability & Online Ad-fraud, available via the documents tab above.
  • The Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG): was formed to ensure that best practice is extended to all players operating within the digital display advertising trading space, giving advertisers greater confidence in the systems they rely on. Under the principles, businesses have their ad misplacement policies (involving CV tools, black and white lists) verified by ABC or an independent third party. Members are encouraged to ask their media agencies to urge their ad networks to gain independent verification to the new cross-industry version of the Principles.
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