Interview with Ben Sarmiento
THE DANGERS OF KEYWORD BLOCKLISTS
We all agree that we want to spend our ad money on ads that will work. So we try to adjust a bunch of factors that impact our ads’ success. Where our ads are shown is one of those factors we work with. Besides simply choosing which platform to run your ads, certain ad spaces allow you to submit a keyword blocklist.
Keyword blocklists were created to prevent ads from running next to content the advertiser wanted to avoid. Many blocklists came to include topics like “politics,” “news,” or “transgender.”
But here’s the thing: an excessive blocklist can damage your company’s reach AND hurt minority content creators.
The Channel Factory helps advertisers align their YouTube ads with the best content for their brand. And they developed The Conscious Project to combat this issue. We had the pleasure of speaking with their VP of Sales, Ben Sarmiento. Here’s what we learned.
HOW BLOCKLISTS CAN DAMAGE YOUR REACH
A survey by CHEQ and Digiday says, “92% of marketers said that blocklists can damage the effectiveness of campaigns.” Let’s break down how.
Let’s say you include the term “shot” in your blocklist because you don’t want your ad running by violent content like guns being shot at people. Well, adding that term to your list would do that. But it would also block content related to sports, medicine, photography, film, and more.
If a company is selling athletic shoes, and “shot” is on their blocklist, these ads aren’t going to be advertised alongside basketball players who shoot during a game.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
Ben explained that his company noticed that many brands have blocklists that prevent their ads from being shown alongside LGBTQ+, Latino, and Black content creators. Those creators then lose out on ad revenue opportunities.
So many of us and so many of our companies discuss the desire to be more inclusive, and yet our ad spend is exclusive. Like how “73% of LGBTQ+ friendly channels are blocked by industry-standard blocklists,” according to a study by CHEQ.
Most businesses don’t realize how these lists are affecting these groups, not to mention how it’s stunting their ad reach.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT:
- As always, awareness is the first step to change.
- Join the Conscious Project Pledge, which invites advertisers to be more inclusive.
- Review your company’s blocklist.
- Bring this up when your company discusses how they can support diversity.