BY Elizabeth Carlson (’17)
A recent New York Times article titled, “YouTube Advertiser Exodus Highlights Perils of Online Ads,” says that famous name-brand companies are pulling their ads from YouTube.
YouTube is considered one of the most valuable video platforms on the internet today. It attracts the younger generation, so it made sense for companies to advertise on YouTube to get their message to this desirable and otherwise hard to reach audience.
Big name brands need to protect their brand image and corporate reputation as much as possible. Companies began pulling their ads from YouTube because they noticed that the ads were being placed next to offensive material such as hate speech. For example, the ride-service Lyft pulled ads from YouTube because the ads were within or adjacent to content about a racist skinhead group. AT&T and Johnson & Johnson also pulled ads from YouTube.
YouTube is an automated system where ads of all kinds are bought and then placed within content. YouTube also specializes in niche content that does not appeal to all audiences. But this strength helps YouTube attract billions of viewers every day and allows for precise targeting.
Programmatic advertising is when advertisers are able to layout general guidelines of who they want to reach as their target audience. According to the New York Times, Google and Facebook use automation and data to save money and make ad-buying more efficient. The system relies on an intricate system of agencies and third-party networks.
At one time, advertisers were mainly concerned with a proximity to pornography. Today, they are more worried about the steep uptick of terrorism, violence and hate speech videos.
Eric Franchi, co-founder of Undertone, an ad technology company, made a good point in the New York Times article about the volume of online sites today. Google has over two million sites. “It’s a lot harder to maintain brand safety today than what it was because of the sheer number of sites coming into these exchanges every day,” said Franchi.
According to the Times story, Google has made a pledge that YouTube will tighten safeguards against having companies’ ads show up alongside “hateful, offensive and derogatory content.”
Both Google and the advertising community are hoping that by working together they can minimize inappropriate ads on YouTube.
Feature Image: Unsplash
Elizabeth is a senior graphic design major and an advertising minor. When she is not in the classroom, she is Assistant Design Editor for The Wood Word, or she is playing for the women’s soccer team at Marywood.