TubeMogul Pitches Brand Safety With PageSafe, A Tool To See Where Ads Really Appear

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Media agencies want to ensure that their ads are only seen in the best light… But a lot of times, the networks they use to distribute those ads don’t do a good job of distinguishing between good content or bad content, or where an ad appears.

That’s why video ad startup TubeMogul has opened up a new page that will let anyone — whether it be a brand, an agency, a publisher, or merely a curious observer — scan a URL and see how it ranks in terms of brand safety. That page, based on TubeMogul’s PageSafe technology, is a powerful tool to show off what viewers really see and what brand associations they’re getting when ads run against certain content.

Brand safety isn’t a new issue in online advertising. Several ad networks have sought to tackle the issue over the years — and yet, ads still run up against objectionable content and auto-load in spots where viewers never see them. Not too long ago, the TubeMogul folks ran a site called FakePreRoll.com, which sought to highlight examples of video ads running below the fold and poor contextual targeting. After receiving a bunch of angry emails from embarrassed brands and agencies — not to mention a few cease and desist letters — they decided to shut the site down. (Not surprisingly, an anonymously run site has popped up in its place at videoadstandards.wordpress.com to carry on where FakePreRoll.com dropped off.

Anyway, the problem of brand safety isn’t limited to rogue sites or bad actors: Take this page on CNN.com, for instance. Few brands would object to having their ads shown against a global new site like that, but they might find the science of the G spot a little racier than they’d like for their target audience. (The TubeMogul PageSafe gives it an R rating, by the way.)

The public-facing part of PageSafe is a fun tool, but what’s really interesting is what’s behind the scenes. That’s because advertisers who use TubeMogul’s ad buying platform can use PageSafe in real-time to assess the safety of pages before campaigns run on them. It’s hoping that will be a big differentiator to help bring on more advertisers.

Another differentiator, along the same lines, is publisher transparency: While other ad networks will give advertisers the ability to choose buckets of inventory based on certain categories, TubeMogul clients can pick exactly which publishers they want to run a campaign on and see how well ads across all those sites performed, allowing them to optimize their campaigns in real-time.

One final differentiator that no one else has? This video: