What’s the Difference Between White Lists & Blacklists

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Marketers and advertisers can use the data generated by their campaigns to optimize throughout the duration of that campaign’s life cycle. Data, specifically the sites a campaign displays on, can be used to better optimize not only where the creative is being placed, but who is seeing it. This can be done by creating white lists, black lists, and site lists.


White Lists

A white list is a document of preferred lists of sites, built by the operator and often specific to the advertiser. Oftentimes, operators will build a list(s) of the sites that have had a high conversion and click-through-rate to work towards achieving the campaign’s objective. An operator can tell which sites have achieved these goals and may be worth adding to a white list by requesting a detailed report. From the detailed report, comparing significantly relevant pieces of data (click-through-rate, conversions, etc.) will lead advertisers to the top sites that should be added to a white list. Once all sites are added to a white list, the campaign or ad group with the uploaded list will only bid on placements available on those respective sites. This method gives advertisers the transparency they are often looking for and of course, brand safety, as they now know exactly where their advertisements are being shown.



Blacklists are the exact opposite of white lists. A blacklist is a list of websites that you do not want to show your ads on. For example, if an advertiser pulls their HD report and sees that they have been displaying on cooking.com and letsworkout.org, but don’t want to display there, they can add those sites to their blacklist. Once the list is uploaded to the campaign and added to the ad groups, the ads will no longer show on those sites. Creating a blacklist can also help operators achieve their unique brand safety objectives.


When creating a list, consider looking at sites with no clicks to be added to a blacklist and adding a bid multiplier for sites that are seeing better performance in terms of clicks or conversions to be added to a white list. Additionally, when creating white and blacklists, they can be built as part of the same list, uploaded as a single file, and can be updated when needed for ease of use.



Check out our webinar “Programmatic Advertising Waterfall” for more information on creating and uploaded lists within the Choozle platform.