Most people in the industry would agree that there should be filters in place to deliver on appropriate inventory when running open exchange buying strategies. This may be part of standard targeting features, such as inclusion lists to target-specific domains, or it may be leveraging third-party verification integrations in the DSP.

Through DV’s integrations with major DSPs, a range of filters can be applied to campaigns to activate our fraud, brand safety and viewability classifications — enabling advertisers to avoid bidding on content not aligned to a campaign’s requirements.


Private and Publisher Direct Deals

When running across private deals, however, there is debate about whether bid avoidance is required. The thinking being that if an advertiser has proactively selected the publishers to work with, do they still need protection?

When negotiating with a publisher directly there is a lot more confidence that the inventory being supplied meets the campaign requirements and provides the impression volumes necessary to ensure delivery in full. Applying further filters could restrict the agreed upon volumes.

However, a pre-bid filter applied to a publisher direct deal is important. If a campaign is using post-bid blocking only there could be post-bid blocks across negotiated inventory. This post-bid blocking could be avoided upfront on the bid request (pre-bid) — allowing the publisher to move this request to another campaign and provide other inventory to the deal.

This post-bid blocking can occur despite the fact that the publisher has a direct agreement on delivery and all impressions are perceived as premium and brand safe. Typical scenarios of this blocking are when specific pages or breaking news content aren’t aligned with the campaigns brand safety requirements — resulting in blocking when the campaign delivers.

In most DSPs, brand safety features can be applied to inventory bought as ‘private deals’ (although, not on guaranteed agreements) and it’s suggested that these features are applied for page-level avoidance.


Brand Safety Example

Let’s say there is a breaking news article halfway through a campaign about an earthquake. The news publisher continues to send bid requests for impressions on the homepage and articles containing content about this disaster. These impressions will be bid on with no pre-bid filters in place. However, these impressions are blocked due to post-bid settings the advertiser is using on the campaign.

Another issue may be the publisher is avoiding sending this disaster related content to the deal. Though, the classification applied by the publisher doesn’t match the methodologies and profile applied post-bid by the advertiser. This mismatch can perpetuate a high block rate.


Pre-bid filters will look at page-level classifications and avoid breaking news articles that fall into unwanted categories. Pre-bid also allows for quick updates in a DSP in response to breaking news, providing immediate action in those situations where brand safety requirements may not have previously been discussed with partners.

Using the same classifications to filter a deal pre- and post-bid will help reduce blocking post-bid — allowing a publisher to focus on other optimizations for the PMP deal instead of trying to align brand safety settings which might not be following the same methodologies.


Fraud Example

Although the partners you are working with directly are themselves not fraudulent, a range of different bots may still visit their sites to try and replicate human behavior.

If a PMP deal is to leverage other data, and not access inventory from a specific site list, then undesirable sites may still be targeted.


User-Based Fraud Avoidance can help advertisers avoid known bots which may be causing fraudulent ad requests from premium publishers

Site and app fraud avoidance can ensure any broader deals aren’t buying sites/apps which are identified as malicious actors.



While brand safety and fraud are recommended pre-bid features, viewability filters may be too restrictive to a campaign and it may be best for the publisher to optimize the campaign directly. Especially if there is an agreement on specific delivery volumes.


DV Tools – Authentic Brand Safety

DV has a range of tools available in the brand safety profile which can help to improve delivery in programmatic environments where PMP agreements have been made. DV’s Authentic Brand Safety targeting allows advertisers to create a centralized set of safety and fraud controls that can be automatically deployed across pre- and post-bid environments. Advertisers can sync pre-bid targeting and post-bid blocking strategies. This allows for exceptions to be applied when buying on a PMP, while allowing for a stricter open exchange profile with the use of multiple segments.

DV’s Authentic Brand Safety product also allows for centralized update control, instead of having to communicate changes to a programmatic team and then to the PMP partner. For example, in the case of breaking news, updates to “keywords to avoid” can be automatically passed to the DSP.

Finally, the product creates the best alignment of campaign blocking settings between advertisers and PMP partners. This enhanced alignment can significantly reduce block rates and allow PMP partners to focus on other optimization points instead of reducing block rates.


The Downside of Pre-Bid for PMPs

One of the key issues with applying additional filters to PMP deals is the potential impact on scale. If there are agreed delivery volumes, you don’t want to limit this delivery. There are a few ways you can mitigate these issues:

  1. Clarify requirement that supply partners must submit transparent bid requests. If publishers send the full URL then it will be assessed at the page level, allowing delivery with appropriate content instead of rejecting everything on an incorrect classification.
  2. Sharing brand safety settings with the publisher. Although pre-bid settings will help reduce post-bid issues, you still want to share these settings with the PMP partner so they can manage their setup to try and maximize bid responses instead of having increased rejections.
  3. Where DV’s Authentic Brand Safety product is available, you can also review if site or page exceptions are appropriate for the PMP partner. This allows the homepage to be exempt from classifications and can help drive scale with direct deals. We saw the application of such page exceptions drive a 2000%+ increase in delivery on a selected publisher. Since delivery was low, due to the previous restriction, the exceptions drove a phenomenal uplift on delivery.


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