Snapchat Moves to Create a Safer Environment for Brands

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Snapchat is taking steps to monitor content and ensure ads don't appear in embarrassing places.
Snapchat is taking steps to monitor content and ensure ads don't appear in embarrassing places. Credit: Courtesy Snapchat

Snapchat is trying to reassure marketers that it's a safe place to advertise, striking deeper partnerships with outside companies to monitor its systems and protocols.

Snapchat is working with Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Moat to evaluate its technology and procedures for addressing brand safety.

"The Snapchat brand safety protocol is designed to block any ads from appearing adjacent to user-generated content that is determined to be inappropriate or objectionable," DoubleVerify said in a statement Tuesday.

Snapchat already has established relationships with IAS, DoubleVerify and Moat, which help brands independently measure ad campaigns on the platform. The brand safety initiative takes those partnerships into new areas and establishes a council that will work to keep ads in well-lighted areas of the app.

Like much of the digital ecosystem this year, Snapchat has been under scrutiny from brands nervous about where their messages appear.

In March, Ad Age reported that ads could run after sexually explicit videos videos on Snapchat by users with big followings.

GroupM, the world's largest ad buyer on behalf of marketers, followed up by notifying clients that Snapchat couldn't guarantee wholesome homes for all ads. "The safety of brands online is crucial, which is why we created a brand safety team last year," GroupM said in a note to clients then. "We're urging all media partners to ensure proper coding and vetting of content on their platforms, and to allow third-party vendor monitoring and blocking capabilities as an additional measure of protection."

Though Snapchat has always been a platform mostly controlled by users, who can share any videos they like, it does prohibit certain nudity and violent content. Accounts can be monitored for publicly distributing videos that break the rules.

Snapchat has also gotten a pass from many advertisers because ads run between videos instead of on them, and look less connected to the content as a result.

But digital media in general is under pressure to keep marketers away from anything sketchy. Advertisers began threatening to quit YouTube if it didn't better police where their ads ran. Facebook faced similar brand outrage after disturbing incidents including a live murder were streamed on the platform. Whitelists using outside tech companies to vet websites and social media spaces are becoming a normal part of digital ad buying.

Snapchat advertisers seeking safety have been moving into its more curated sections, like its media hub, where professional publishers including BuzzFeed and Vice run professional channels and sell sponsorships.

"In most of our ad products, curation plays a big role in creating a safe space for advertising," Snapchat said in a blog post in April. "If you place Snap Ads in Publisher Stories or Our Stories, for example, your ads will appear in context of Snaps curated by editors or by Team Snapchat."

Bringing Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Moat on board to help protect brands in other areas could help support Snapchat's ad business in its un-curated areas.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify would partly monitor Snapchat content for brand safety. They will help monitor Snapchat's technology and procedures around brand safety but they are not directly monitoring content.

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