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Brand safety measures for YouTube advertising

Brand safety is something Strike Social has taken seriously since the company’s first YouTube campaign back in 2013, well before the issue became a national headline.

Strike’s stance is that any advertiser can have a safe experience as long as their campaign set up is diligent, detailed, and proactive. This is why we’re proud that our 300+ clients have never found their ads running against unsavory content.

Brand safety in online advertising

A media buyer needs to apply extensive guardrails to protect the advertiser while adding in-flight dates and budgets. It’s entirely possible (and easy) to launch a campaign with limited to no guardrails. This is where the problem sets in.

Did an advertiser find their video in front of a profane rap song? It means the media buyer didn’t exclude ‘vulgar content’ during the campaign setup.

How about a video ad running in front of news footage recapping the latest terror attack?

The media buyer didn’t add a list of expansive keywords around this attack or didn’t exclude content around news.

The point here is that there are ways to protect your brand. This is where Strike Social goes to work.

Strike Social’s solution

Strike Social applies a strict set of guardrails to every campaign to make sure they are brand safe. These guardrails are pre-built so all advertisers can have peace of mind.

We’re making them public so you know exactly how we’re being proactive.


  • Extensive list of up to 5,000 negative keywords. Negative keywords apply to the host video’s headline, description, tags, and metadata. Negative keywords ensure your ad won’t show in front of any video that contains one of our negative keywords.
  • Negative keywords list updates in real time. The list of negative keywords is updated in real time as events occur across the globe.
  • 30+ content and topic exclusions. Topics range from news to politics to religion to violence/terror to sexual content. These exclusions ensure your ad won’t run as pre-roll to any videos that are classified within those topics.
  • Blacklist of dozens of controversial YouTube placements. Strike blocks unsavory channels from ever showing up on your media plan. Additional controversial placements are added to the blacklist in real-time as they present themselves.
  • List of curated YouTube channels. Strike Social’s proprietary AI technology finds safe channels to run a campaign based on relevance to the advertiser’s vertical and target.

Strike Social’s white and blacklist approach is updated in real-time and pulls in data from observing campaigns across several social and display platforms. This is unique as Strike Social also specializes in media buying beyond YouTube.

Strike Social’s team is also working very closely with Google engineers to understand the latest advancements in the platform to ensure a safe experience for advertisers.

We feel so confident in our approach that we welcome third-party verification tracking from partners such as Double Verify and IAS.

Please, let us know if you have any questions.


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