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Supporting Journalism During COVID-19

by Amobee, April 02, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the advertising industry has an inherent duty to support the fact-based journalism that the world depends on to ensure continued public access to accurate and timely information. 

As our media partners double-down on providing accurate coverage of COVID-19 and its impact around the world, it’s vitally important that the advertising community supports them. 

A number of our clients have either reexamined and reimagined their campaigns, or pushed spend into the future. For some the initial impulse was to pull back from having their brand associated in any way with the pandemic. But, working closely with our clients on a case-by-case basis, we have illustrated the value of the audiences that fact-based journalism on the pandemic attracts, and the engagement opportunity for brands that such coverage provides. 

As quoted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “A lot of the coronavirus content that is getting flagged is service-oriented stuff: “Here’s what you need to know today,” said Ryan Pauley, chief revenue officer of Vox Media Inc. “There is no brand suitability problem being next to that.” 

For example, leveraging our Brand Intelligence tool, we’re able to discern that currently 45 percent of all media content consumption is related to COVID-19. Brands can suffer from scale challenges if they exclude everything related to the pandemic. With our proven semantic analysis technology, we can identify the content within that 45 percent that enables brands to smartly lean into COVID-19 content without risking perception or reputation. 

As a part of our COVID-19 PSA campaign, we are also buying ad slots in these stories. “If we’re going to have a lot of inventory that’s not being utilized, maybe we can use it for a social good,” said Philip Smolin, our chief strategy officer told the WSJ. For further coverage on this topic, please also see this CNBC story: News sites ask brands to advertise alongside COVID-19 content

Enter NewsGuard’s BrandGuard

To help our advertiser clients navigate this challenge, we are teaming up with NewsGuard, an organization founded by journalists that ranks more than 4,000 websites globally against an intensive credibility rubric. These rankings can inform custom, categorized exclusion lists of “fake news” websites that advertisers can reference to ensure they do not run ads on these sites. 

In line with our COVID-19 PSA campaign, NewsGuard has provided Amobee with a free-to-use COVID-19-edition blocklist, which is part of their BrandGuard Solution.

Amobee is implementing this platform-wide block in an effort to prevent ad spend from reaching websites that author fake news or misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no action required by our customers to receive the brand safety benefit of this exclusion list, and we do not expect to see any impact on performance following this implementation. 

Beyond the COVID-19 list, customers interested in avoiding ad placements on misinformation websites more broadly or in targeting placements on trustworthy news sites can contact their Amobee representative or reach out to NewsGuard directly.

Growing our global footprint to increase awareness & help prevent further spread

The COVID-19 PSA campaign is on the move and lighting up across all continents. In our latest campaign map, we have achieved reach across Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.

How did we do it? Through building on our existing relationships and expanding into new ones across the globe. New partners in the program include: 

  • Spaceback: The industry leader in Social Display. Spaceback’s platform seamlessly integrates social content into any programmatic media buy while keeping all the functionality of the original social post. Spaceback works with top brands across fashion, retail, travel, and auto. Their formats consistently outperform against standard banners, reduce production costs, and offer brands the easiest way to leverage their best content for display ads. Spaceback’s participation enables Amobee to authentically repurpose influencer content supporting the #stayathome message as Social Display creative. It’s a powerful tool for engaging all audiences, especially millennials, with a familiar look and feel that combats banner blindness and inspires attention.
  • Media.net: A contextual-first advertising and publisher solutions company, Media.net has one of the most comprehensive ad tech portfolios  in the industry. For over 10 years, Media.net has been working with some of the largest publishers, platforms, and marketers in the world with custom solutions,driving revenue for publishers and improving outcomes for advertisers. Media.net is honored to partner with Amobee in support of the WHO and their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Media.net is leveraging its proprietary contextual data platform to improve the targeting of campaigns to appropriate, non-sensitive contextually relevant Corona virus and health-related content. Media.net will also waive any fees it charges to ensure every dollar spent on this PSA campaign is utilized as working media. This effort reinforces Media.net’s commitment to using advertising technology to promote collective progress and the common good.
  • InMobi: InMobi is the world’s leading marketing cloud, driving real connections between brands and consumers. The company creates new paths for brands to understand, identify, engage, and acquire consumers by leveraging exclusive access to mobile intelligence and technology platforms. As a leading technology company founded in 2007, InMobi has been recognized as a 2019 CNBC Disruptor 50 company and as Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies. InMobi is proud to partner with Amobee and its other contributors to help reach the global public by providing media to mobile audiences.
  • The 4A’s: The 4A’s helps empower its members to drive commerce, spark connections, and shape culture through infinite creativity. The association is dedicated to, and vested in, its members’ success, just as it is dedicated to helping brands create, distribute, and measure effective and insightful advertising and marketing. The 4A’s is doing its utmost to promote accurate and reliable information about COVID-19 and combat misinformation wherever possible through the ongoing efforts of its Advertising Protection Bureau (APB) and other initiatives. The APB and 4A’s member agencies are coordinating their efforts with those of the Ad Industry COVID-19 Response Initiative in order to harness shared resources for the common good. Guidance and news updates from the 4A’s on coronavirus can be found here.
  • Crossix Solutions, a Veeva Company: A pioneer in patient data, privacy, and analytics, Crossix leverages the industry’s most advanced technology to connect comprehensive health and non-health data, covering more than 300 million lives – all in a privacy-safe way. The company delivers data and insights to more than 200 brands from top 20 pharma companies as well as leading health systems, pharmacies, and wellness brands. Crossix is providing audience segments to help Amobee reach the most at-risk consumers with accurate, fact-based messaging about COVID-19.
  • ConsenSys: ConsenSys was founded by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin in 2014. The company has built blockchain developer tools that have been adopted across the Ethereum ecosystem and incubated and accelerated Ethereum startups that are launching products across industries from finance to supply chain to law. The company has deployed real-world enterprise Ethereum solutions that are helping corporations, governments, and NGOs secure their IT infrastructure, optimize workflows, and unlock new blockchain-based business models. ConsenSys is excited to participate in the WHO COVID-19 PSA initiative by offering its proprietary identity and trusted agent technology to manage campaign efficacy and tracking.
  • OUTFRONT Media Inc.: OUTFRONT leverages the power of technology, location and creativity to connect brands with consumers outside of their homes through one of the largest and most diverse sets of billboard, transit, and mobile assets in North America. As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, OUTFRONT believes that it is imperative to inform local communities of the guidelines necessary to stop the spread of the virus. They are doing their part to reach communities that have limited access to resources to see important CDC and government messages. The fact that people are still leaving their homes to do essential activities paired with the fact that its large canvas media often goes viral on social media positions OUTFRONT to deliver impact where it matters. OUTFRONT is proud to partner with the CDC and Amobee in its commitment to spread this important message across the US.
  • Place Exchange: Place Exchange is the only true programmatic SSP for out-of-home and place-based media. Integrated with leading omnichannel DSPs, Place Exchange’s patented technology uniquely offers agencies and advertisers the opportunity to fully unify buying and measurement of OOH media with other digital channels, leveraging the same workflow, creatives, reporting, and attribution as for online and mobile advertising. Place Exchange is providing programmatic access to OUTFRONT’s premium package of digital billboards for the campaign. (Outfront details to follow in our next blog post.)

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COVID-19 PSA Campaign Stats & Map

  • 8,199,216 impressions served
  • 6,414,046 unique users reached
  • 0.34% CTR
  • 82.63% Viewability
  • Site Served through partners: 310,432,141 impressions, 169,145,261 Users

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