Now is the perfect time for brands to work on advertising since many people are quarantined at home. But many brands are afraid of all the fake news concerning the coronavirus and don’t want their ads showing up on these sites. These brands use a keyword tool, which effectively blocks many publishers using popular Covid-19 search keywords. However, GumGum has analyzed through its machine-learning software that sites using these keywords may be safe after all.
Telling the Good Content from the Bad
Recently, many brand safety strategists focused their efforts on semantic analysis, which means understanding how words are used. The purpose of this is to eliminate any negative or hateful content from displaying a client’s ads. This can be tricky because a keyword tool can find an article without ‘bad’ words and it can still be negative to an audience. That’s why these strategists are now focusing on sentiment analysis, to find whether the article means well or not. By categorizing content into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, advertisers can better decide where to display their ads. GumGum CTO Ken Weiner commented on how this works:
“Even when we apply the most conservative settings, more than half the content is safe,” he said. “Coronavirus is touching every facet of society, so it’s hardly surprising that even the most innocuous content references it. Keyword blocking just goes way too far, which is why people are calling for whitelisting of specific websites. That mindset shows what’s wrong with the way people think about brand safety these days. The idea that you have to choose between reach and safety is false. Our industry needs to wake up to what’s technologically available.”
“Let me put it this way:”, he continued. “If you’re looking for a quick and easy brand safety solution right now – rather than keyword blocking or whitelisting everything – I’d recommend simply advertising on content categories like technology, pop culture, and video gaming. You’ll get plenty of reach and over 80% of their COVID-related content is safe.”
Brand Safety is Failing Brands
Despite GumGum’s assessment, many brands don’t buy it and are afraid of venturing out of the norm. The use of a keyword tool has become too easy but it’s also becoming unreliable. In order to take advantage of all the marketing opportunities, brands will have to expand their knowledge of artificial intelligence. According to GumGum’s CEO Phil Schraeder, keyword blocking can be useful, but it’s doing more harm than good.
“All the concerns raised lately about coronavirus keyword blocking hurting publishers are valid,” he said, “But this data shows that keyword-based brand safety is also failing brands. It’s effectively freezing advertisers out of a huge volume of safe trending content, limiting their reach at a time when it should actually be expanding as more people than ever are consuming online content.”
GumGum’s machine learning-based engine identified several popular Covid-19 search keywords as “safe”. The list included “COVID”, “COVID-19”, “coronavirus”, “quarantine”, and “pandemic”. Who knows if this will be enough to convince many brands that their advertisements are safe around these keywords. But the message is clear, now is the time to advertise.