You might have read multiple accounts of major advertisers pulling out of Google after having their ads displayed alongside extremist content on Youtube. That’s the potential issue you’re facing when relying on blind programmatic advertising, targeting broad personas or even specific users irrespective of the context where the ads are displayed.

This recent backlash clearly points to an increased need to mix the programmatic AND contextual approaches for a brand-safe experience. As we’ll see below, newsletters could be the best way to ensure contextual quality in programmatic advertising.

Less outlets, same results

Interestingly JP Morgan Chase has recently acknowledged that reducing their programmatic advertising distribution network from a broad 400,000 websites to only 5,000 pre-approved properties (in the aftermath of the Advertiser Boycott) has had little to no impact on the actual results produced by the campaigns.

It shows that a vetted premium network delivers the same quantitative results as a wide uncontrolled approach, while protecting the brand integrity against unwanted negative associations.

ensure contextual quality in programmatic advertising

A study by the Guardian confirmed that a contextually relevant environment boosts advertising effectiveness, a conclusion shared by a Newsworks presentation which provides insightful details re: the value of context.


The context issue can also be raised the other way round: how can you guarantee to a publisher that programmatic advertising won’t display offensive creatives alongside their carefully crafted quality content?

Contextual value, delivered to your inbox

You need more control to optimise the experience. Premium newsletters are the perfect safe haven for advertisers since they can provide both a deterministic trigger for programmatic advertising (based on the recipient’s email address) AND a strong contextual reinforcement, when properly selected. Publishers can also determine which type of advertising content they will accept in their email messages.

It’s possible to display ad creatives both in media and e-commerce newsletters (even in transactional messages), benefiting from the reach and brand value offered by these publishers, while enjoying far less visual competition in a feed-like format, where the ads are natively part of the reading flow.

The best of both worlds, programmatic and contextual, with the utmost efficiency of a people-centric targeting method.

If you’d like to know more about the possibilities offered by programmatic advertising in premium newsletters, check out our services on