New data from GumGum’s Accredited Contextual Intelligence Engine, Verity, Reveals That Keyword-Based Safety Strategies Are Blocking a Considerable Amount of Safe Content

Almost 60% of Content Containing Climate Change-Related Keywords Are Brand Safe

GumGum, Inc., a global media and technology company that specializes in contextual intelligence, today released data indicating that a majority of online content containing keywords related to climate change is actually safe for brand advertising. The findings come from analysis by Verity, the company’s accredited contextual intelligence engine. Over a 30-day period, Verity identified almost 1.2 million unique pages containing climate change-related keywords across GumGum’s publisher network. Of those pages, the system’s threat detection models classified 58.5% as ‘Safe’.

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GumGum climate change research.
GumGum climate change research.

“Choosing to use keyword blocking when better technology is available is reckless. There are better, more technologically advanced ways to ensure brand safety without overblocking perfectly safe content. Publishers shouldn’t have to limit their coverage of important topics like COVID, George Floyd, or climate change because of monetization issues. The next era of advertising will require brands to find their voice and stance on polarizing topics rather than backing away from them, ” said Phil Schraeder, Chief Executive Officer, GumGum.

In one month alone, brands utilizing broad blocklists to avoid coverage around climate change, missed out on 52.8 million impressions across GumGum’s supply, Schraeder pointed out, adding that GumGum’s publisher network offers a representative sample of impressions available across the wider web. Brands would have been blocked from accessing those impressions because the web pages contained one or more instances of the words or phrases “climate”, “climate change”, “greenhouse gas”, “climate crisis” or “melting ice caps”.

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Verity deemed them brand safe based on multi-model natural language processing and computer vision analysis. The system’s threat sensitivity is adjustable as is its confidence threshold for validating safety conclusions. The findings are based on Verity’s nominal safety and confidence settings––configured to align with the threat sensitivity of an average Fortune 100 brand. 

“Advertisers are right to be concerned about dangerous or controversial content online, but overzealous use of keyword blocklists is the wrong approach,” said GumGum’s Head of Verity, William Merchan. “Rather than blocking pages or entire sites based on broad keywords, advertisers need to be using tools which can analyze all of the data within digital environments to properly identify what’s a threat and what isn’t.”

Merchan noted that GumGum’s analysis shows that the pages containing climate change keywords in certain popular IAB content categories are particularly safe. “Rather than keyword blocking, if advertisers want extra security, they should simply target the safest content categories like ‘auto technology’, ‘automotive’ and ‘green solutions’, where over 85% of the content is brand safe.”

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