With social media channels Facebook and Twitter taking opposite stands on the topic, and Google falling a bit in the middle, how political ads are sourced, reviewed, and displayed is gaining a lot of attention.
We’ve previously covered why a Total Video strategy is the right choice for political campaigns as well as how the 2020 election will disrupt media plans for advertisers, but as the primary election date gets closer it’s becoming more important to discuss just exactly how SpotX handles political ads, so you can better understand how we’re safeguarding against inaccurate or inappropriate political ad campaigns.
The first to make the call was Twitter, who announced in November they would completely eliminate political ads from their platform. This was a bold statement to simply bow out entirely. Just a few days later, Google announced how they planned to handle political ad targeting. Though not a complete ban, this move to limit targeted political ads still sent a strong message. And only a few days after Google’s limited targeting practices went into effect, Facebook reiterated they have no intention of putting limitations around political ads.
We don’t believe there’s a right or wrong path. We believe there are actions you can take to help limit the risk and increase confidence in how your brand engages with ads during the political campaign season.
From a SpotX perspective, it’s important to understand how we manage political ads. We’re often asked:
Does SpotX handle political ads differently than other ads?
The answer is yes.
The first thing you need to know is SpotX isn’t a self-service platform. This means that unlike Facebook, where illegitimate special interest groups can create targeted ad campaigns, we safeguard against individuals creating campaigns and targeting them in a biased manner.
The SpotX Demand Facilitation Team only works with well-established brands, agencies, and technology platforms that are fully vetted by our team in advance of running campaigns. We understand the goals of campaigns before they’re launched, eliminating the chances of supporting groups and organizations that are spreading false information through their political campaigns.
SpotX is a founding member of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), focused on fostering transparency in business relationships and transactions that drive the digital ad industry. Political ad or not, the group focuses on four key areas:
- Eliminating fraudulent digital ad traffic
- Combating malware
- Fighting ad-supported internet piracy
- Promoting brand safety through greater transparency
Because we’re already heavily invested in protecting the digital ad industry, applying these principles to political ad campaigns is a seamless transition for our team.
What else do we do?
We have a team of humans review each ad that comes into our system.
We know properly reviewing ads is too important to trust just to algorithms. That’s why our Brand Safety Team ensures our inventory is correctly categorized and all ads meet our requirements to ensure we don’t serve inappropriate ads.
We offer an increased level of due diligence where publishers can approve or reject any creative.
We give publishers complete control over what creatives they want to accept or reject. We will alert publishers to creatives that should be reviewed, and help provide guidance to the category of the ad. For example, a political ad covering policy would be categorized differently than one that attacks a political candidate’s character. This review and control allows publishers to limit all or some of the political ads available to ensure they’re only showing video ads that meet their brand standards.
As election day gets closer, it’s important to fully understand how brands can safeguard against spreading inappropriate or inaccurate information. To learn more about our advertising policy in general, read our Advertising Policy.
This article was written by Amanda Boughey, product marketing manager at SpotX.