Blacklist and whitelist are well-known and quite popular tools for traffic source optimization. Blacklist allows blocking certain sites not to buy their traffic. On the opposite, a whitelist informs the network that you want to buy traffic only from listed sources. Let’s see where it’s worth using these lists, and where it’s not.


Just a couple of years ago, blacklists and whitelists were used for security purposes. Together, people made lists of sites that contained bots or inefficient traffic, and these lists were wandering across different forums. It took time to search and apply a blacklist or whitelist for every ad campaign. Moreover, they should be updated manually.

MGID filters bot traffic before it reaches advertisers. For providing high-quality traffic, we use Anura anti-fraud solution and our anti-fraud solution certified by TAG. Also, we have an analytic team that manually checks the traffic on a daily basis; MGID ensures that more than 96% of traffic is safe. To avoid fraud, you don’t need to spend the time on implementing a blacklist or whitelist anymore.

Brand safety

In some cases, it’s important for an advertiser not to show the ads in places where it may harm brand reputation. Therefore, sites that contain dangerous content should be added to the blacklist.

On MGID, there is no need to create a blacklist to avoid them. We partner only with trusted sites, so brand safety is guaranteed. They do not contain fake news, adult content, illegal, sexual, provocative, or repulsive content.


Advertisers may add a site to the blacklist if it doesn’t suit the brand historically. As a result, the site often is blocked for all advertiser’s campaigns. However, from time to time, the content of the site may change or a new audience may appear.

You don’t need to block irrelevant sites by using blacklists anymore with MGID’s AI contextual targeting solution. It analyzes site content, including pictures and video. It allows the targeting of contextual environments thoroughly, as well as to block irrelevant placements without a full site blocking.

Targeting optimization

Blacklist and whitelist are still great instruments for targeting optimization within a single ad campaign. You can block low-performance sites with low CTR or conversion. The common way to work with lists is to manually whitelist high-performance sites for further optimization:

  1. Create A campaign using all sites and all networks
  2. Create identical B campaign, but whitelist only high conversion sites
  3. Blacklist high conversion sites in A campaign

The A campaign focuses on a search for new high conversion traffic sources. The B campaign focuses on lead generation from the trusted sources. You can lower CPC for the A campaign and make it higher for the B campaign.

Preset optimization

We don’t recommend transferring the whitelist or blacklist from one campaign to another. Sometimes, what you use to promote fitness apps doesn’t fit even for fitness devices, nevertheless, that’s pretty similar products. Even in one site, there can be different sets of creatives and landings; one of them may become inefficient, but the others still can work. With a blacklist, you cannot take that into account.

Blacklists and whitelists will limit the audience rich for the new campaign and make outcomes worse. A much more effective solution is to launch a campaign without blocking traffic sources. All sites have already been checked for fraud; they guarantee brand safety. Also, with the use of contextual targeting, ads will be shown only in relevant placements.

Instead of cutting available traffic and campaign reach by manual blacklisting and whitelisting, it is better to set rule-based optimization. Traffic sources will be blacklisted based on their real performance without manual efforts. That allows focusing on global strategic goals, instead of searching for weak spots within just one campaign.


Historically, blacklist and whitelist are used for anti-fraud purposes, avoiding dangerous and irrelevant sites, and for in-campaign targeting optimization.

MGID constantly improves its anti-fraud algorithms and filters fraud and sites with dangerous content. Contextual targeting tools can help to highlight relevant traffic sources. Blacklisting or whitelisting sites for these purposes is not relevant anymore.

However, blacklist and whitelist are still good tools for in-campaign targeting optimization. They help to find new profitable traffic sources or to utilize the most efficient traffic sources. There is no need to copy lists from one ad campaign to another because the efficiency of these traffic sources can be different even for different products from the same category, as well as for different creatives or landings. Instead, for optimization purposes, it’s better to launch all traffic sources and use rule-based optimization.

If you still want to use preset lists for your new campaign, it’s better to consult with our account manager and describe your offer, product, and price to define the most suitable list for traffic source optimization.