The Evening Standard and The Independent have signed on to license Mantis, an AI-powered tool created by Daily Mirror publisher Reach to curb articles being unnecessarily block-listed from advertising.
The deal, announced today, will cover the tool for both brand-safety and contextual ad-targeting for the Evening Standard and The Independent’s websites.
In initial tests with The Independent, Mantis opened up a 40% increase in available ad impressions compared to other market leaders, Reach said.
The tool uses IBM Watson’s artificial-intelligence engine and machine learning to check whether content is appropriate.
Reach launched Mantis in 2019 as a Natural Language Processing tool that provides an alternative to keyword platforms in establishing brand safety. For example, it ensures that the word “shoot” in the context of a football story is classed as safe because it is not referring to gun violence.
Adib Razzaq, sales director for the Independent and Evening Standard added:
“This is an important move and one that we’re delighted to be making. As the industry prepares for the end of third-party cookies, advertisers will be increasingly reliant on contextual targeting. This is just one of the ways we’re making sure that we are a step ahead of the changes, while being the best possible partner to brands.”
Last month, Mantis was awarded the TAG Brand Safety Certified Seal and claims to offer a 95% rate of accuracy for contextual capability, Reach added.
Reach, which also owns the Daily Express, OK! magazine and nearly 200 regional news brands, took the novel step of launching its own brand-safety tool in 2019 instead of using a third-party supplier such as ADMantX, DoubleVerify, Grapeshot, or Integral Ad Science.
Not only does selling licenses to rival news brands create additional revenue for Reach, but it should make Mantis more efficient as more data is fed into the machine-learning platform.
Advertisers are also looking for cost-effective contextual advertising solutions as third-party cookies, the main tool for tracking web users for marketing purposes, are no longer usable on internet browsers.
Mantis is used pre-publication, which means publishers do not have to use tags on the page and is supposed to have no latency because the system is integrated with the publisher’s content management system.
Emily Britton, head of publisher development at Mantis, added: “We’re thrilled that two of the UK’s largest quality news brands will be joining us in leading the way on AI-led content classification and moving away from outdated keyword blocking approaches. Never-ending block lists not only disrupt ad revenue for publishers but they keep brands from making the most of quality news content.”