On the heels of Google’s ongoing brand safety headache, MediaMath is trying to add a few safety bumpers to the sharp edges of the digital ad ecosystem.
The programmatic buying platform took the wraps off a product on Thursday that aims to help advertisers find addressable audiences on brand-safe sites at scale.
MediaMath vets a publisher’s inventory and makes it available to advertisers in real time through participating SSPs and exchanges along with a guarantee: If an ad runs in a brand-unsafe environment, advertisers get a full refund.
MediaMath is integrated with Index Exchange, OpenX, Rubicon, Sonobi and AppNexus, among others.
The product, dubbed Curated Market, also identifies and flags anonymized cookies for its publisher and supply-side partners so that they only send back impressions that make sense for the target audience. Publishers prioritize Curated Market demand and MediaMath fills the impressions.
Buying and selling through programmatic pipes isn’t always the most well-lit way to transact, said Sean Holzman, chief digital revenue officer at Bonnier Corp., a long-time MediaMath partner and one of 500 publishers signed up to participate in the Curated Market.
“But this allows advertisers to buy across all of MediaMath’s network of publishers,” Holzman said. “They can start expanding their buys in brand-safe environments.”
Brand safety at scale is a big part of the appeal here. Advertisers can still go publisher to publisher to create their own lists of acceptable sites, but there’s no assurance that the audience they’re looking for is actually going to be there, said Julia Welch, VP of MediaMath’s Curated Market.
“By consolidating a lot of that inventory and making it available in a marketplace, we’re ensuring advertisers reach the audiences they care about reaching,” Welch said.
MediaMath has been working on its Curated Market for the last six months, well before P&G’s Marc Pritchard drew his line in the sand on third-party measurement and before the brand-safety issue exploded in Google’s face in March. But the timing on this is certainly fortuitous.
“There’s been a call for a clean marketplace for a really long time,” Welch said. “But now brands have started to put their foot down – as they should.”
On the publisher side, Bonnier is noticing more inbound demand since hooking into the curated marketplace. Roughly 70% of MediaMath’s advertiser clients – around 7,000 brands – are signed up for the service.
“Companies and advertisers are looking for brand-safe partners,” Holzman said. “This exposes us to more advertisers, but it’s also a comfortable way for us to transact. Our content is clean and safe, and this is just another way for us to showcase that to brands.”
MediaMath is also integrated with third-party measurement and verification vendors, including DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science, to block fraud on a pre-bid basis and to filter suspicious traffic. Sizmek’s Peer39 handles contextual targeting and placements.
Sites with content promoting hate speech or illegal activity are excluded from the market and added to a dynamic blocklist.