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How to Sleep at Night After Launching a Google Campaign

So you’re launching a Google campaign and you don’t know how to best protect your brand. It could be search, display, TrueView, discovery etc. it doesn’t really matter. What does matter however, is avoiding having your ad end up on sites, channels, and placements that would hurt your image. Brand safety might be the topic of the decade, but it doesn't have to be.

With that in mind, here are the most important things to include (or exclude) in all of your Google campaigns.

  1. Content Exclusions
    Unless you specifically exclude certain content, your ads will serve anywhere within the Google Display Network. These content exclusions are set at the campaign level and you can exclude anything from “sensitive social issues” to “below-the-fold”. For example, in all display campaigns, we always check off anything in the “Sensitive content” category and “Content not yet labelled” (bc YouTube can be slow).

  2. Negative Keywords
    Here at Gupta we include a list of at least 80 negative keywords in every. single. search. campaign. These are a list of words that we have determined we never want our ads to serve against in any campaign (think sexual, violent, etc.). You can make specific keyword exclusions for campaigns and ad groups but we highly recommend having a base set of keywords that you know you never want to serve ads on. 

  3. Negative Placements and Channels
    This is important for Display and YouTube campaigns so if that’s what you care about listen up. You can exclude specific websites and channels that you don’t want your ads to run on. Think out of the box conspiracy, certain political, and just plain weird websites and channels. You may be thinking, I didn’t include that site or channel in the campaign so why do I even need to worry about my ad serving there? The answer: retargeting. Retargeting is a highly qualified tool in the advertising industry but it can get dicey sometimes. For example, a user visits your website (great!), you include site visitors in your campaign (also great!) but then that user goes on to watch some realllly sketchy YouTube videos and sees your Discovery ad (not so great).
    • Another tip: if you hate doing this manually in all your campaigns, you can make a “negative placement list” and only have to make it once!  
    • FYI you can also do this for mobile apps, topics, and specific videos. 

It’s important to know that even with all these safeguards, things can slip through the cracks. Keep a vigilant eye on your campaigns, ads, and brand, and you can always exclude more and more things in your campaigns. These are tips on how to start out but don’t get complacent! New websites and channels are always popping up.

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