FT.com opens up ‘semantic advertising’ to prevent ad misplacement

The Financial Times is opening up a semantic advertising format designed to protect brands from ad misplacement and increase engagement rates by matching ads with more relevant content.

Financial Times

The publisher first started trialling “FT Smart Match” in 2011. It uses semantic profiling technology from Smartology that goes beyond keyword recognition to recognise the meaning, concepts and categories behind content that appears on FT.com, to help brands appear next to relevant content in real time and avoid appearing next to inappropriate articles.

There have been several high profile cases of unfortunate automated ad misplacements online over the years, such as a Red Stripe “Hooray Beer!” ad appearing next to a Reuters story about a child being charged with drink-driving and an advert for Greek holidays juxtaposed next to a Guardian story about violent riots in Athens.

RBS, Robeco Asset Management and business school IMD are among the 12 launch brands signed up to use FT Smart Match.

The FT says brands piloting Smart Match found their engagement rates increased “up to tenfold”.

Jon Slade, FT commercial director of global digital advertising and insight, says: “Delivering relevant content from our advertising partners in a timely and transparent way has proven to be a very attractive proposition for brands and readers. The FT is committed to providing the utmost value to our advertisers by helping them reach our exclusive and highly sought-after audience in environments that are complementary and engaging.”

Last month Marketing Week reported ISBA, the IPA and IAB are in talks to agree on brand safety protocols to help prevent brand advertisements appearing next to inappropriate content. The safety measures will be implemented by the cross-industry Digital Trading Standards Group.