'Bots don't book our holidays', says TUI's GM of digital marketing on issue of ad fraud and viewability

TUI, Thomson's parent company, has taken proactive steps to help counter issues such as ad fraud and brand safety, which have accelerated over the last few years.

Speaking at ISBA's annual conference in London yesterday, TUI's general manager of digital marketing Christian Armond said it deploys both proactive and reactive steps to combatting the issues, stressing the point that "bots don't book or go on holidays".

Armond spoke alongside ISBA's Bob Wootton, who stressed the importance of continuing to root out the ongoing issue of brand safety and various forms of ad misplacement – either on pirate sites or simply alongside inappropriate content such as jihadist recruitment videos.

Although there are multiple incentives underway including the industry-wide crackdown on infringement, which saw the City Police work with the ad industry to collate a blacklist of copyright infringing sites, there is a way to go before it is culled completely.

However, brands such as TUI have developed effectve blocking tactics. Armond said that like most brands, it is "desperate" to avoid toxic and inadvertent ad misplacement and protect its brands, and uses various measures to ensure its advertising appears in contextually relevant places.

"The other side of it is viewability. Robots don't yet book our holidays or go on them so we want to ensure as many people as possible can actually see our ads.

"From a brand safety point of view we have proactive side, where we have ad tracking technology which filters out bad placements and blacklists and stops us appearing against infringing sites."

The company is taking steps to ensure it is blocking the right kind of content, and not simply doing a blanket ban. In addition to ad tracking technology, the company's 'proactive' efforts include crisis comms exercises to prepare for ad misplacement and keyword blocking.

Armond added that "reactive" approaches sometimes include the company pulling off its ads from publishers based on content it deems isn't "right" for its ads to sit alongside.

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