After report finding brands are sending $2.6B to misinformation sites annually, NewsGuard and Comscore partner to offer advertisers options for responsible advertising on news

NewsGuard’s ‘Responsible Advertising for News’ segments will be available to Comscore customers in multiple demand-side platforms–enabling brands to advertise on trusted news while avoiding misinformation with the check of a box.

(August 16, 2021 — New York) After a report from NewsGuard and Comscore found that brands are financing online misinformation sources with an estimated $2.6 billion per year in advertising revenue, the two companies have launched a partnership to enable advertisers to avoid misinformation and advertise responsibly on trustworthy news sites.

Beginning today, advertisers using Comscore’s pre-bid contextual targeting options in multiple demand-side ad platforms will have the option to select segments custom-built by NewsGuard’s team of journalists designed to exclude misinformation sources from an ad buy and to target highly trustworthy news sources for an advertising campaign. 

NewsGuard employs a team of trained journalists to assess the credibility of all the news and information websites that account for 95% of engagement with online news–using nine basic, apolitical criteria to assess each site. The segments are derived from NewsGuard’s ratings. 

The offering provides a number of exclusion lists for advertisers to choose from, including segments for excluding all known misinformation websites, excluding anti-vaccine and health misinformation websites, excluding sites with election misinformation, as well as sites promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. 

“This report should be a call to action to all the buyers, sellers and vendors in the programmatic ecosystem,” said Rachel Gantz, GM of Activation at Comscore. “In the same way that we have worked with the advertising industry to defund ad fraud, we must collaborate to stop the flow of billions of dollars to misinformation sites every year. Comscore partnered with NewsGuard not only to help starve the fuel of misinformation sites but also because NewsGuard’s rigorous and apolitical ratings will help advertisers responsibly redirect spend to trusted news sources.”

In addition to avoiding ad placements on misinformation sites, the offering makes available a range of inclusion segments, such as options to include all highly trustworthy news, trusted local news, or trusted news sources serving Black, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBTQ+ communities. 

A recent NewsGuard case study of one NewsGuard client’s experience demonstrated that brands targeting highly trustworthy news sources such as those offered in the inclusion segments can not only support quality journalism–but also achieve higher campaign performance. The case study found that expanding to cover new, credible news sources rated by NewsGuard led to a 9% lower average CPM and 143% higher click-through rate. 

David Chavern, President & CEO of the News Media Alliance, whose members include many of the top news publishers in the U.S., welcomed the effort. “It’s gratifying to see the advertising community taking steps to make it easier for brands to advertise on credible news content,” Chavern said. “Quality journalism offers a great environment for nearly any brand to advertise and we encourage advertisers to use tools like these that enable them to identify and advertise on trusted news while avoiding misinformation.”

“This is a rare instance in which brands don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well,” said Steven Brill, Co-CEO of NewsGuard. “We know from the data that advertising on trusted news isn’t just good for the world and for democracy–it’s also just good business.”

“What brand wouldn’t want lower costs and better performance for an ad campaign–especially if they can help combat misinformation in the process,” Brill added.

Both NewsGuard and Comscore reported substantial interest from among their agency and brand partners in the new options. 

“We’re committed to providing our clients with brand-safe, brand-suitable ad placements while also ensuring they can reach the engaged, committed audiences on news content safely and responsibly if they choose to do so,” said Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital Officer at UM and Global Brand Safety Officer at IPG Mediabrands. “We are always looking to leverage partnerships with subject-matter experts like NewsGuard and Comscore to achieve that, and we look forward to exploring these new opportunities.”

“Failing to address and break the financing of misinformation and disinformation proliferated on the internet and across digital media threatens our ability to govern ourselves, global stability, and the future of the internet as a force for the democratization of legitimate commerce and civil discourse. We can and must all play a part in the solution,” said Justin Adler-Swanberg, Director, Marketplace Quality at  MediaMath. “MediaMath’s partnerships with Comscore and NewsGuard are key to serving ads on credible news sources, avoiding misinformation and disinformation, while ensuring brand safety, brand suitability and contextual relevance targeting. 

The segments will be available in all major demand-side platforms this month (DSPs) through Comscore’s contextual offering. Brands interested in activating NewsGuard for their ad campaigns can search for “NewsGuard” in the list of Comscore pre-bid offerings or contact NewsGuard for more details.

The full list of available segments is below:

Exclusion segments:

    • NewsGuard Misinformation Exclusion List: The recommended off-the-shelf solution for excluding known misinformation websites. This segment contains all websites with Red (Untrustworthy) ratings from NewsGuard, meaning their NewsGuard Trust Scores are below 60 out of 100. Choose this option for the strongest protection against misinformation. All other exclusion segments are included in this segment.
    • NewsGuard Health Misinformation Exclusion List: Exclude health misinformation websites: Exclude all websites flagged as untrustworthy by NewsGuard for publishing health hoaxes such as false cures, anti-vaccine misinformation, or other medical falsehoods.
    • NewsGuard Political Misinformation Exclusion List: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for partisan political misinformation and conspiracy theories.
    • NewsGuard Election Misinformation Exclusion List: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for publishing falsehoods about voting or election integrity.
    • NewsGuard COVID-19 Misinformation Exclusion List: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for publishing falsehoods about COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • NewsGuard QAnon Misinformation Exclusion List: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for content advancing elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Inclusion Segments:

    • NewsGuard Highly Trusted News Inclusion List: Our recommended off-the-shelf solution for advertising on credible news: Include or target websites with overall Green (Trustworthy) ratings from NewsGuard and high trust scores (85 out of 100 or higher). Sites in this segment adhere to all of NewsGuard’s key credibility criteria and are highly unlikely to publish false, inflammatory, or irresponsible content that could damage a brand’s reputation.
    • NewsGuard Trusted Local News Inclusion List: Includes websites with very high NewsGuard trust scores (85+) and a focus on local and regional news. This segment includes local newspapers and television stations, as well as trustworthy local blogs and digital-only news operations.
    • NewsGuard Trusted Nonpartisan News Inclusion List: Includes websites with very high NewsGuard trust scores (85+) and no noticeable partisan or political leaning.
    • NewsGuard Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ News Inclusion List: Includes trustworthy news sites serving communities of interest that have been harmed by keyword blocking, including the Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ communities.


About NewsGuard

Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, HealthGuard, and BrandGuard, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, and the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top hoaxes.

Consumers can access NewsGuard’s ratings through NewsGuard’s browser extension on all major browsers and through mobile apps for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft, and hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.

About Comscore

Comscore is a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms. With a data footprint that combines digital, linear TV, over-the-top and theatrical viewership intelligence with advanced audience insights, Comscore allows media buyers and sellers to quantify their multiscreen behaviour and make business decisions with confidence. A proven leader in measuring digital and TV audiences and advertising at scale, Comscore is the industry’s emerging, third-party source for reliable and comprehensive cross-platform measurement.

NewsGuard Contact

  • Matt Skibinski, General Manager, NewsGuard, matt.skibinski@newsguardtech.com