PlayAd’s Safe Ad API Initiative

At PlayAd Media Group, we match premium brand publishers and advertisers together to provide a good and safe experience for them both, as well as their visitors on our infrastructure and platform.

As the advertising industry has progressed, there have been many instances of bad actors using advert delivery to interfere with publisher sites in order to redirect visitors away from the publisher, steal information, or even drop malware on unsuspecting visitors [1]. This of course hurts the whole eco-system and is very damaging to the industry, and everybody browsing the web.

Whilst PlayAd Media Group have avoided this issue with our approach to premium only, publishers have expressed concerns over the possibility of it occurring to them, coupled with pressure to gain more control as the GDPR enforcement date nears. Of course when it is your brand and viewers you are trying to protect, this caution is entirely justified.

Publishers have tried to mitigate this in a number of ways by putting adverts inside safe frames, unfriendly, or sandboxed iframes. Though without support through much of the ad-tech stack, a large number of these adverts will no longer function properly. This is often seen to cause a massive drop in revenue and it puts publishers in a bad position.

This is why we chose to create our Safe Ad API product which allows sandboxed unfriendly iframe adverts that work with our player, platform, and our advert formats to provide publishers with a confidence that their sites are safe, and our advertisers with the formats and delivery they have come to expect.

In developing this new method of serving adverts, we had a number of key objectives in mind that publishers across the industry often cite as major causes of concern.

Key features of PlayAd’s Safe Ad API Initiative:

[✓] Supports our advertising formats and playback without compromise.
[✓] Detailed statistic logging from engagements to IAB compliant viewability.
[✓] Programmatic backfill support and handling with our VAST providers.
[✓] Improved programmer interface for publishers to interact with.
[✓] Lower the exposure area for GDPR risks.

[✓] Stops popups, alerts, and adverts that block user interaction.
[✓] Prevents adverts trying to redirect away from the publisher’s site.
[✓] Block access to publisher’s cookies, page elements, and styles.
[✓] Key stroke and mouse events can’t be listened to on the publisher’s page.

We believe with this new way our publishers can work with adverts, they will have the confidence that their site is safe with our platform and can handle adverts in an improved way. One example of this would be how publishers can easily load a booking on their site, and handle situations such as when no adverts are available directly or even programmatically, enabling them to reclaim that inventory space and use it for something else.

We’re in the beginning phase of rolling out this new system to some of our publishers on a case by case basis whilst we continue to mature the product.

If you’re interested in this product, whether you’re an existing customer or would like to try this as a new publisher please contact our Head of Publishing, Mikael Benckert at

If you would like to learn more about the technology, approach, or to see it in action, please contact our Chief Technology Officer, Tom Power at

We look forward to hearing from you!

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