OpenSlate Incorporates GARM Framework

September 16, 2021

By Andrew Smith, Chief Product Officer

From the inception of OpenSlate in 2012, we have provided independent content ratings and contextual targeting that empower advertisers to effectively manage brand safety and suitability. We’ve spent nearly a decade developing proprietary content metrics to help advertisers understand the nature and quality of content on streaming and social platforms, while advocating for industry content standards. 

So, we’re thrilled to announce that OpenSlate is committed to incorporating the framework published by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) into our contextual targeting and measurement solutions. GARM has definitively tackled the long-time challenge of driving industry adoption of universal brand safety standards, allowing advertisers, publishers, content platforms, and data providers to benefit from a common language around this crucial topic.

As such, adopting GARM isn’t just a bit of housekeeping to ensure advertisers are all on the same page; underpinning this standard are a few substantive benefits to all sides of the advertising media world.

A baseline for comparison and customization

Many of OpenSlate’s customers are looking to understand the relative safety and suitability of their advertising activities across media platforms through a consistent measurement methodology. GARM has responded to this challenge with a framework that is very much in line with other standards, such as ad viewability, providing a baseline that makes decision making and scaling of media strategies more straightforward.

By aligning advertisers to a safety and suitability standard, GARM serves as a jumping off point toward customization. We find that our customers’ journey into contextual advertising often starts with safety and suitability, and then quickly evolves into considerations around content quality, language alignment and relevance. Any advertiser that is serious about content alignment will utilize GARM as a building block for an advertising strategy that will ultimately be bespoke to their brand or campaign.

Elevate awareness of safety and suitability

Surprisingly after half a decade of high profile brand safety incidents, industry conferences, and much discussion and debate, it’s still far too common to find advertisers that aren’t fully leaned into comprehensively solving this problem for their brand. By elevating this discussion to an industry-wide movement, GARM has made brand safety and suitability a front-and-center topic for any brand to consider.

With GARM’s eleven primary safety categories and three differing levels of suitability across those categories, brands can begin to understand the nuance at the heart of contextual targeting strategies. This is invaluable education for buyers and sellers of advertising, understanding not just where avoidance controls should be in place but also where alignment with certain content can be allowed. Which brings me to the next topic.

Investment in brand-safe content and creators

The GARM framework is synergistic with the mission that OpenSlate was founded upon and continues to focus on today: to create a healthy media ecosystem that supports high-quality content and creators. How does GARM enable this? First and foremost, the spirit of the GARM framework isn’t to create a blanket blocking approach across all “bad” content. The idea is that the advertiser will define their level of tolerance based on the 44 categories within the framework. This allows for greater reach and ultimately greater financial support of various content types.

Additionally, there has been great care applied to news as a content category within GARM. Advertisers will find that the medium and low levels of brand suitability of GARM treat news with care by delineating between breaking news, news op-ed and feature-type news content. It speaks volumes to the crucial interplay between publishers and advertisers to create a standardized carve-out for news content, with a standalone definition that allows for news content to be identified and supported through ad dollars.

The road ahead

Given the values that GARM enables for the advertising industry, OpenSlate is committed to incorporating the GARM framework into all of our existing and future contextual advertising solutions. We are working on ways to make these standards actionable and turnkey for marketers across their content targeting and measurement efforts, providing a crucial standard that increases the palette of controls available to our customers today.

For more information contact your OpenSlate sales representative or email us here.

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