Philip Ellis
News & Views
Brands are coming back to YouTube

Following a programmatic debacle earlier this year which saw a number of big brands pull their advertising from YouTube after their ads ran next to inappropriate and even extremist videos, the Google-owned company is working to offer advertisers greater control over where their ads appear.

YouTube has been forced to toe a delicate line, balancing the needs of advertisers with the concerns of creators. “The issue has put YouTube in a tough spot because while it has been forced to take steps to reduce offensive content and lure advertisers back to the platform, those steps also hurt the ability of popular content creators to monetize their videos,” writes MarketingDive’s David Kirkpatrick. “If those creators leave the platform for other options such as Twitch, YouTube loses content to serve ads on.”

This week, YouTube introduced a series of new guidelines for creators on the platform, essentially a “how-to” manual for making an ad-friendly video, to ensure that YouTubers know which of their posts will and won’t be eligible for monetisation. These new guidelines take a much tougher stance on “hateful content,” “inappropriate use of family entertainment characters,” and “incendiary or demeaning content.”

“We hope this additional information will provide you with more insight into the types of content that brands have told us they don’t want to advertise against and help you to make more informed content decisions,” says Ariel Bardin, YouTube’s VP of Product Management.

Brand safety is on everybody’s mind in the aftermath of YouTube’s programmatic advertising controversy, but a number of the companies which promptly abandoned YouTube to protect their image are making their way back, assuaged by these new features. “It was more of a blip, and most advertisers have been convinced by YouTube’s new filtering tools should head off most, but never all, of these situations,” says Joel Espelien of video analyst firm The Diffusion Group.

And in the meantime, there are plenty of other media buyers out there who are keen to grab some of the prime space left by big brands; YouTube ad spend in May was higher than the previous year.

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