Coronavirus Ad Quality Policy Bulletin

PubMatic is providing publisher tools to block some ads targeting the current Coronavirus global situation. At this point, it’s not possible to block every ad related to the Coronavirus, but PubMatic has created an approach whereby publishers who opt-in to the initial program outlined below, will benefit as more ads are identified and blocked. Please read on for more details and contact your account team to opt-in to this offering.

Coverage for Coronavirus targeted ads

As Coronavirus fear spreads across the globe, bad actors have been using the rising panic to advertise solutions to consumers addressing issues related to the virus – real, exaggerated or fake.  PubMatic recognizes that many publishers may want to avoid displaying these types of ads to audiences, thus we are offering the ability to block against certain criteria related to the Coronavirus.

PubMatic Ad Quality Policy on Ads Related to Coronavirus

PubMatic takes no platform stance on ads related to the Coronavirus. Moreover, given the challenges and technical limitations of identifying Coronavirus related ads based on the creative alone, at this time, PubMatic is able to offer blocks on advertiser domains (landing pages for clicks on ads) where any reference to the Coronavirus is found during a manual review.

How Can PubMatic Help Publishers who Want to see Fewer Coronavirus-Related Ads?

While Coronavirus-related ads can appear from any advertiser at any time, PubMatic is focusing on monitoring new advertisers to the platform who are looking specifically to exploit the global consumer focus treatments, information, and solutions for the virus. To this end, PubMatic manually reviews each new advertiser domain associated with ads on the platform and will categorize advertisers into a specific Advertiser Block category which, when selected as a block by publishers in the UI, will block all ads associated with those advertiser domains.

How Can Publishers Select Block Coronavirus Related Advertisers?

In the PubMatic UI, navigate to Ad Quality > Blocklist Manager, then select Category = Health and Fitness > Sub-Category = Cold & Flu and select Advertiser = Coronavirus Targeted Ads. PubMatic has added all advertiser domains we have identified as targeting the Coronavirus as part of this ‘advertiser.’

How can PubMatic help further?

Though we are launching our Coronavirus coverage with the ability to block advertiser domains associated with the Coronavirus, for publishers choosing this option, they will automatically be protected against any other creative that is discovered to be targeting the Coronavirus. This may include:

  • Creatives found live on the web and in apps and subsequently blocked.
  • New blocking features that come on-line from vendor partners
  • Additional Coronavirus targeted advertiser domains discovered

How Publishers Can Help Protect Their Audiences from Coronavirus Ads?

If you receive reports from your users, or if you see Coronavirus related ads that should be blocked, please follow the escalation process below. Any escalations that are identified and validated will be added to a creative blocklist that benefits every publisher choosing to block these ads on the PubMatic platform.

How will PubMatic Determine if a specific creative or advertiser domain is added to the Coronavirus blocklist?

A creative or top-level advertiser domain (tld) must reference the Coronavirus in some way in the copy that would not otherwise be tolerated in a normal cold/flu season. A couple of examples:

  • If a publisher finds a creative that advertises N95 masks, but there is no copy referencing the Coronavirus, the reporting publisher is welcome to add it to its own blocklist, but the creative will not be added to the Coronavirus blocklist that other pubs opt-in to.
  • A creative is found with the copy, “BUY MASK NOW TO FIGHT VIRUS”, and the landing page URL (LPU) is target.com/coronavirus_masks.html, PubMatic will block the creative for all pubs who opt-in to the Coronavirus block, but since the advertiser domain is target.com, we will not add the domain to the blocklist (since we can only block at the top-level domain).

What information do you need to provide for the fastest resolution? 

When a publisher observes what they feel is a Coronavirus targeted ad, the following information should be collected immediately for the creative to be identified and the issue resolved as soon as possible: 

  • Logs/ad traces from violation source 
  • Creative IDs & UCR IDs 
  • Landing page domain 

How PubMatic employees can individually help us improve the Coronavirus blocklists

As you consume news throughout the day, and if you see any ads (masks are the ones most commonly observed) that seem to be exploiting the Coronavirus fears, please click on the ad and look at the domain. If it is a domain solely focused on Coronavirus products/marketing, please submit that URL to the #CSOM_bc_sync slack channel. Here's what to do:

  • If you find a Coronavirus targeted ad, click on it.
  • If the top-level domain (main URL, not deeper landing page) is exclusively targeting the Coronavirus (example: sixmiles.shop), then:
    • Go to the #CSOM_bc_sync slack channel and enter "Suspected Coronavirus Advertiser Domain: sixmiles.shop" (entering the suspected domain)
    • AQ will review and add it to the Coronavirus advertising domain blocklist if it meets the policy requirements

What happens if you don’t provide enough information?  

If only a screenshot or general description of the ad is submitted during an escalation, then the resolution of the issue will take longer and the outcome uncertain due to the lack of traceable data.  Moreover, given the anticipated higher level of escalations due to the high visibility of this issue, priority will be given to escalation with traceable details included

Who do you contact for support?  

Publishers can reach out with these details to the appropriate support contact below.

Please always copy (CC) your PubMatic Customer Success Manager on email outreach, for awareness.

Support Contacts

  1. Please always copy (CC) your PubMatic Customer Success Manager and Kedar.Gholap@pubmatic.com on email outreach, for awareness.
  2. Please reach out to AdQualityOps@pubmatic.com, with these contacts CC’d, as your primary point of contact.

If you have any other questions, publishers should reach out to their Customer Success Manager. 










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