IAS and Xandr partner to provide more programmatic context

Sentiment analysis layered into contextual targeting provides more safety for brands and their ad placement.

As contextual targeting becomes a more viable component of the programmatic landscape, brand-safety in that context is still something that gives buyers pause.

In response to calls from brands and advertisers for cookieless solutions and more control over, and trust in, their media buying, adtech company Xandr, a division of AT&T, partnered with Integral Ad Science, “to offer advertisers the transparency and controls to run their campaigns alongside trusted content,” said Dylan McBride, head of global partnerships at Xandr.

More specifically, programmatic buyers are now able to access IAS’s contextual targeting and avoidance capabilities within Xandr’s self-service Invest DSP.

The Context Control product provides more precision for ad placement through page-level sentiment analysis, along with 300-plus pre-set segments that aid in informing ad and content avoidance. In other words, context is only part of the solution. Layering in sentiment to the buying process provides brands with more confidence that their ad will end up where it’s supposed to, alongside like-minded, suitable placements. IAS partnered with the Globe and Mail to offer the contextual ad solution in late 2020.

The targeting tools are available through Xandr Invest for campaigns in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, with additional languages coming soon. This particular partnership expands on IAS and Xandr’s existing relationship, which includes brand safety, fraud, and viewability controls.

That said, contextual targeting and brand safety aren’t one-size-fits-all, and while the IAS solution is an improvement the 300 segments it uses are pre-set. So, while according to Lisa Utzschneider, CEO, IAS, “programmatic growth continues to surpass expectations,” the ability for brands and advertisers being able to learn from and customize context and avoidance will be an invaluable next step to ensure a level of plug-and-playability with this and like-minded offerings. As a result, it will be increasingly interesting to see how IAS, Xandr, and other players touting contextual targeting, will continue to develop its capabilities going forward.