March 2024

In this month's newsletter:


Be Bold for Publishers: TAG's Keyword Exclusion Toolset Establishes Brand Safety Best Practices & Safeguards Publisher Revenue

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Keyword exclusion lists are a core component of most brand safety strategies, but they can also be one incredibly problematic for publishers. Too often, such exclusion lists encompass not only effective and targeted terms, but also keywords that are overly broad, irrelevant, or outdated. In addition, once added to a list, keywords are rarely removed, even if the terms included are no longer effective or relevant to the advertiser’s brand safety strategy.  

Keywords are only as effective as the process by which they are selected, reviewed, and updated, yet the digital advertising industry has lacked a standard playbook of best practices for the use of keyword exclusion lists or a practical toolset to manage those efforts.

That’s why TAG is proud to introduce the new Keyword Exclusion Toolset, another aspect of TAG’s “Be Bold for Publishers” initiative.

The toolset includes three main elements:

  1. Always-Block Keyword List: Compiled in collaboration with companies across the TAG Community, this list identifies specific words and phrases that have broadly been deemed inappropriate for brand association.
  2. Keyword Maintenance Tool: This tool establishes a new standard for keyword exclusion lists by incorporating metadata fields into the database. The tool also offers a submission capability, so stakeholders can collaborate and track potential additions.
  3. Best Practices Guide: This guide offers detailed advice on how to manage keyword exclusions efficiently, ensuring that brand safety measures are accurately targeted and do not unnecessarily limit the reach of content.

The Keyword Exclusion Toolset benefits both advertisers and publishers by providing a simplified and standardized approach, as well as best practices that raise standards and increase efficiency across the digital ad supply chain.

Responding to the release of TAG’s new toolset, Alex Thomas, GroupM’s Brand Safety and Responsible Investment Director, said, “Creating a consistent understanding and best practice across the use of keyword exclusion is key to maintaining a responsible media environment. We’ve been delighted to lean in as a contributor to TAG’s Keyword Exclusion Toolset and work with our peers to better support the wider industry. Together, we can use our collective responsibility to shape the next era of media.”

NBCU’s Senior Director of Brand Safety Abrahim Farraj commented, “The TAG Keyword Exclusion Toolset brings one of the oldest tools in brand safety – keyword lists— into the modern age. In addition to guidance on how to keep a list up-to-date and effective- this new TAG tool enables the advertising community to crowd-source which terms are used, overused or in need of updating. This much-needed product created by TAG and the TAG Community makes keyword lists far more useful for marketers worldwide, and gives agencies new options to ensure brand safety.” 

To learn more about the Keyword Exclusion Toolset or download your copy of the best practices document, head to the brand safety page: tagtoday.net/brand-safety#brandsafetytools

For more information about other TAG brand safety tools, initiatives, and programs,

visit https://www.tagtoday.net/brand-safety

TAG Awards Record 321 Certifications for 2024; “TAG Platinum” Status Companies Jump 33% Year-Over-Year

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Earlier this month, TAG announced it had awarded a record 321 TAG certifications to companies for setting industry best practices around fraud, brand safety, malware, and transparency. In addition, a record 32 companies reached TAG Platinum status by achieving three or more seals in 2024, a 33% increase over the 23 companies that did so last year. 

"Success in tackling endemic industry challenges requires a combination of commitment and innovation,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “This year’s certifications demonstrate the shared commitment of hundreds of companies to maintaining and building on the gains we have achieved, while also leading our expansion into vital new areas like transparency. By continuing to follow TAG’s time-tested collaborative model to raise standards, TAG’s member companies are creating a safer and more transparent supply chain.”

Overall, 218 TAG certified companies earned a total of 321 seals across TAG’s Certified Against Fraud, Certified Against Malware, Brand Safety Certified, and Certified for Transparency Programs in 2024. A record 69% of this year’s seals were earned through independent validation in which the company’s certification was confirmed through a third-party audit.

“TAG Platinum Status is our highest recognition for companies that have adopted rigorous standards to protect their partners and the industry across at least three of TAG’s program areas,” said Todd Miller, VP Policy and Compliance at TAG. “The record number of companies achieving Platinum Status this year shows how TAG members are increasingly appreciating the importance of TAG’s interlocking programs to protect their partners and customers from the broad range of supply chain threats they face.”

Additional information about TAG’s programs and the application process for TAG Registration and TAG’s seal programs are available at www.tagtoday.net.  


From “Pirate Sites With Malicious Ads Face Restrictions Under New Initiative” in TorrentFreak:

The Trustworthy Accountability Group aims to increase trust in the digital advertising industry, in part by limiting pirate sites' access to advertising. A new initiative will see the development of a new blocklist containing pirate site domains to be avoided. …

More easily scalable than its predecessor, PBI 2.0 still aims to defund pirate sites and protect advertisers from undesirable associations. If all goes to plan, it will be quicker to react and more responsive to domain hopping too. …

Also receiving an upgrade is TAG’s database of pirate sites, which is shared within the industry to help advertisers avoid undesirable platforms. This ‘exclusion list’ is maintained and developed through intelligence sharing at TAG’s AdSec Threat Exchange, where members collaborate with participating companies, utilize open source resources, and share information on pirate domains.

The resulting list aims to limit pirate sites’ access to advertisers, thereby reducing their ability to generate revenue from advertising.

Where in the world is TAG_-min


Team TAG are always looking to connect with the TAG Community wherever they are! 

In the coming months, you can find us at:

File:IAPP logo.svg - Wikipedia  
PossibleEvent (@PossibleEvent) / X  
Brand Safety Summit London Tickets, Tue, Apr 30, 2024 at 12:30 PM |  Eventbrite  
Advertising Week Europe 2024 – Advertising Week  

If you're not going to be there and want to connect with us over a beverage, then reach out to us below!

Let's catch up!

DocLeverage TAG Research into Your Everyday!

From APAC Fraud Snapshot reports, to UK Brand Safety Consumer reports, to Best Practices whitepapers, TAG's research is here to support our member's day-to-day compliance as well as strategic planning. 

Visit our Data and Insight page 👉 tagtoday.net/insights

SpeakerLet's Make Some Noise Together 🤝

We love it when TAG members highlight our work together to fight digital ad crime and improve transparency. Please send any TAG-related press releases, blogs, or other announcements to Andrew Weinstein at andrewwstn@gmail.com for review before release.


Topics: Blog