GM Thought of the Week: Will YouTube Ever Reach 100% Brand Safety?


GM Thought of the Week: Will YouTube Ever Reach 100% Brand Safety?

Every few months we are bombarded by the press with yet another example of YouTube failing to meet the safety expectations of its users and advertisers.


Not only does this have a negative effect on consumers, it is bad for business in terms of revenue.  From Mars and L’Oreal to HSBC, household names have previously reacted to the brand and content safety scares through removal of all YouTube budgets.


Following scandals in 2017/18 and loss of revenue, Google acted quickly to put in a number of processes to address advertiser concerns, including increased human review of videos and improved machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).


Following the recent articles in the media we know YouTube have removed and disabled the ability for comment on all offending videos and implemented a one-strike policy.  This however is a short-term fix until the next story hits the headlines.  In fact, as this piece was being written news is breaking regards increased concern over the Momo Challenge.  Seemingly innocent children’s You Tube content is being spliced with Momo content concerning a wave of fear amongst children and concern from schools and parents alike.


As such stories continue to break it is clear aiming for 100% brand safety on YouTube is unrealistic.  There are however steps and measure us media folk can put in place to protect our client’s advertising budgets across this platform’s.


Here at Generation Media we power our YouTube buys with tech to add an additional safety layer.  This not only works towards protecting the brand safety of our advertisers but also has a positive impact on our targeting capabilities.  We use a combination of manual filtering for white lists and artificial intelligence to optimise campaigns.  One piece of tech we implement can detect and remove content where kids might be unwittingly subject to the predatory comments.  This is underpinned by human verification process working towards alleviating concerns highlighted in recent news reports.


Whilst a blanket removal of YouTube from the plan can be seen as an appropriate course of action our recommendation is to pause, give yourself an opportunity to review the situation and options before deciding on the correct course of action based on the facts and not simply media hype.


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