Integral Ad Science and Channel Factory, a brand suitability and ad performance platform for YouTube, released a joint product on Wednesday that combines content curation with optimization and measurement for YouTube campaigns.
The product, dubbed Channel Science (a portmanteau of their names), is generally available, but only on a manual basis for now. The companies are working together to develop APIs for a self-serve version.
Both IAS and Channel Factory are newly-minted members of the YouTube Measurement Program.
The idea to join forces on the product came from marketers looking for more efficient ways to plan and manage brand safety and suitability for their YouTube campaigns. Usually, marketers need to strike partnerships with multiple companies to figure out which channels to run against, how to maximize performance and validate the campaign.
“We were hearing from marketers that they want seamless control over the contexts in which their YouTube campaigns appear and they want to be able to make better-informed media investment decisions based on contextual data signals,” said IAS CEO Lisa Utzschneider. “We did this with a vision to have everything packaged into a single solution.”
Integral Ad Science provides Channel Factory with a list of 200,000 brand safe channels, which Channel Factory whittles down to 20,000 – the maximum number you can load into DV360. The short list is decided based on whatever parameters the brand wants in terms of contextual alignment, performance and brand suitability.
Channel Factory gives brands a risk assessment survey so they can share what they want to run against and their hard limits. Risk tolerance varies widely depending on the brand. One advertiser might explicitly not want to run against music videos, for example, while another might be fine with expletives and actually avoid kids content.
Most brands want channels within a certain theme, such as outdoors content or DIY crafts. Channel Factory previously worked with one of the brand sponsors of the Rugby World Cup that only wanted to run against rugby content.
Throughout the duration of the campaign, Channel Science weekly removes low-performing channels and adds new ones. At the end, IAS validates the campaign.
From the brand’s perspective, it’s one combined workflow from the pre-campaign planning process, including targeting and brand safety and suitability considerations, through to performance optimization and measurement.
The video environment is “inherently different and more difficult to manage” from a brand safety perspective than other channels, in large part because of the sheer scale of the content, said Joshua Lowcock, EVP and chief digital and innovation officer at UM, which is in the process of evaluating Channel Science.
Hundreds of hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute, which means static channel lists go stale almost immediately, and that can have a direct impact on campaign performance, because you’re not capitalizing on the new content that’s coming into the platform.
Lowcock said he’d like to see additional partnerships and joint products crop up between brand safety vendors like the one between IAS and Channel Factory. When that starts to happen more, it will be evidence that the space is starting to grow up and pay more attention to advertiser needs.
“This is a sign that the sector is maturing,” Lowcock said. “I hope these sorts of partnerships lead to a more consolidated and robust technology that could apply across everything we do.”