Supercharged Ad Quality Controls for User Data Access

While the open exchange provides an easy way for publishers to access demand with significantly reduced overhead compared to the sales team, it also presents new risks. Because publishers are no longer able to review every creative that could serve on their inventory, they need some way of setting rules that govern creative acceptance.

To remedy this, publishers often use Ad Quality tools provided by SSPs to pre-filter creatives. At AppNexus, human auditors, assisted by our machine learning, scan all creatives. During this process, creatives are sorted based on characteristics including brand, category, and technical attributes. While these characteristics allow publishers to block creatives based on ad content, publishers want more control, especially around controlling access to their users and their data.

Introducing Ad Server Filtering

We are excited to announce that ad server is now a filterable attribute within our Ad Quality tool. An ad server is any technology vendor in a creative’s call chain. Controlling which ad servers are allowed on your inventory means that you now have the power to protect your users and their privacy. This new feature is especially useful under evolving privacy regulations that may require publishers to know and control the 3rd parties served on their users.

How It Works

Our system scans each creative periodically and reviews its calls. If any of the calls match a hostname associated with a known ad server, a link is made between the creative and the ad server.

In the example below, you can see that there were 86 requests in the creative's call chain. We go through each of the calls and associate a matching ad server to the creative. For the first call with "" as its domain/hostname, we will link the creative to Google as one of its ad servers since "" is one of the hostnames associated to Google. We go through this process for all of the remaining calls on a regular cadence for all of the creatives in our system to create the complete mapping between creatives and ad servers.

Leveraging this mapping, publishers can create rules around these ad servers to specifically prevent linked creatives from serving on their supply.

How to Use It

As a publisher, you can create a blacklist or whitelist of ad servers as you do with any other setting using our Ad Quality UI; you can apply it on your entire supply or a subset. Please use caution when applying these new settings – for example, if you run a whitelist and a creative has any ad server that is not in your whitelist, it will not be eligible to serve, leading to reduction in demand.

With this improvement to our Ad Quality toolset, you now have the power to control what demand is allowed on your supply. To learn more, please visit the wiki.

Shawn Hong

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