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Rob Rakowitz

Rob Rakowitz

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TRENDSETTERS: Rob Rakowitz Discusses Brand Safety’s First-Ever Digital Measurement Report through GARM

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

Rob Rakowitz has more than two decades of experience spanning creative, media, research, and strategy functions from both the marketer and agency perspectives.  Now he leads the Global Alliance for Responsible Media or GARM-- a never-been-done-before industry alliance that brings together global marketers, media agencies, media owner platforms and industry associations to work together to improve consumer and brand safety in ad-supported digital media.  

GARM has just launched its first report tracking performance on brand safety across seven platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, as the next step in its mission to improve the safety, trustworthiness, and sustainability of media. The new Aggregated Measurement Report provides a common and focused framework for advertising industry stakeholders to make more informed decisions about their advertising investment.

 According to Rob Rakowitz, the report provides a simple and transparent framework based around four core questions that advertisers can use to understand how well the platforms are enforcing their policies in the context of brand safety concerns:

  • How safe is the platform for consumers? The prevalence of harmful content will be reported as the number of views of harmful content as a percentage of all views of content.
  • How safe is the platform for advertisers? The incidence of advertising appearing in the context of harmful content will be reported as the number of ad impressions on harmful content as a percentage of all ad impressions.  For newsfeed environments, the overall consumer prevalence measure above will be reported.
  • How effective is the platform enforcing its safety policy? This will be reported as the total number of pieces of harmful content removed and the number of times it has been viewed.  
  • How responsive is the platform at correcting mistakes? This will be reported as the total number of appeals made by users and the number of reinstatements made by platforms. 

GARM is a cross-industry initiative founded and led by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) through Rob's efforts, and supported by other trade bodies, including the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's).  The Alliance recognizes the role that advertisers can play in collectively pushing to improve the safety of online environments by collaborating with publishers and platforms to do more to address harmful and misleading media environments by developing and delivering against a concrete set of actions, processes, and protocols for protecting brands.


To hear more from Rob Rakowitz, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as he talks about the progress he's making and some of specific initiatives that GARM has underway.  CLICK HERE

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • How do you define "responsible media" today?
  • Was there a specific issue or series of incidents that made GARM come to life?
  • How you identify existing best practices and align industry leaders in creating new solutions through "uncommon collaboration"?
  • How have issues of brand safety, transparency and trust in media changed over the last several years? Has the pandemic been a factor in any way given how much time we all spend online today?
  • What are some of the core questions you posed in the report? What measurement criteria did you use in your new report? Are marketers expecting some demonstration of results or progress on addressing key issues?
  • How has our increasingly digital world shifted the responsibilities of brands? Do brands have confidence in the digital environment?
  • What's next on your 2021 agenda?

Rob Rakowitz believes that his role at GARM defines him as one part community builder-leader and one part catalyst-matchmaker. He adds, "I help identify existing best practices and align industry leaders in creating new solutions to address this challenge through 'uncommon collaboration.' "

The new GARM Aggregated Measurement Report includes self-reported data from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snap, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Twitch, which only joined GARM in March, will join the reporting process for the next report, due later this year.

Highlights from the latest data show that more than eight-in-ten of the 3.3 billion pieces of content removed across the platforms participating in the report is from three leading categories – Spam, Adult & Explicit Content, and Hate Speech & Acts of Aggression.