Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Almir Levic, Senior Media Strategist

I’ve spent years helping clients navigate the intersection of digital advertising and social media. The landscape changes a little bit every day, but three things have remained consistent over the past few years: 

  1. Automatic ad placement options like programmatic advertising and the Google Display Network have been incredibly powerful tools that automatically optimize the placement of digital ads to reach audiences more efficiently.
  2. Without proper precaution, these tools can lead to smart ads being placed beside controversial or unflattering content.
  3. When #2 happens to a brand that ignored “proper precaution,” I get a panicked call.

All that said, I’ve learned how to help clients avoid negative situations in a social media atmosphere where outrage is often a trending topic.

Automatic ad placements let you exclude certain types of content from your buy. But if you go too far with your exclusions, you might miss opportunities that work hard for your brand. Knowing how to identify dangerous content and where to draw the line on excluding certain placements is the key to a safe strategy.

Google AdWords has an exclusion tool that allows advertisers to exclude content that may include “sensitive subject exclusions”:


Here are a few questions we ask clients to help make key decisions: 

  • What type of content does your audience consume online?
  • What is your audience’s self-perception?
  • What are your brand’s core values?
  • What motivators connect your audience to their favorite content?
  • What motivators connect your audience to your brand?

Answering these questions will help you draw an appropriate line for exclusions in your programmatic advertising or Google Display Network campaign. That’s a good start toward brand safety.

For a deeper dive on this topic, check our agency’s report, A Look at Brand Safety: How to Avoid the Dangers Hidden in a New Media Landscape, which adds a little more background to an ever-changing topic.  

Or, if you want to talk about your unique situation, reach out to our EVP/Managing Director Brent Schott at 402-437-6432 or to get the conversation started.