Brand Safety on YouTube

Brand Safety on YouTube

Harmelin Digital Contributor: Anna Eggleston

Following the boycott of YouTube by a handful of large advertisers, including AT&T, General Motors, and Johnson & Johnson, Google is refocusing on brand safety. The company is utilizing more AI tools, with machine-learning capabilities, to better classify video content on YouTube and flag offensive videos quickly so that no ads are shown alongside them. With the increased resources allocated to this issue, five times as many videos have been flagged and Johnson & Johnson has decided to resume advertising on YouTube.

What this means for marketers: According to Google, the videos that prompted this boycott – those promoting hate speech, violence, and racism – represent “one one-thousandth of a percent” of ad-enabled videos on YouTube. Even so, the massive amount of user-generated content added to YouTube every day with little restriction on what can be expressed in them, could make this a significant issue for some advertisers. In today’s political climate especially, it was necessary for Google to address brand safety concerns and prioritize curbing them on YouTube. As the technology itself improves, this very minor problem will soon become nonexistent. Online video is one of the most powerful mediums and with YouTube being the leader in that space, it is impossible for advertisers to find success in a boycott long-term.  Harmelin will continue to work closely with Google as they launch additional policy and product solutions around YouTube to protect clients.

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