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The importance of a brand safe environment for your advertising

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YouTube has recently come under fire due to a video that a YouTube blogger posted, showing how YouTube videos featuring children included inappropriate comments linked to pornography.

While YouTube has made some key improvements in their vetting technology, it is still difficult to control for comments that users make on this content, as this is not something the current algorithms consider. Video content undergoes internal context-analysis to ensure it is brand safe, however, this doesn’t address issues where explicit content is being shared through comments.

This is an understandable cause of concern due to the scale of the problem – every minute, up to 300 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube – as such, the harder the job becomes to ensure a brand-safe environment for advertisers and consumers alike. One potential solution is to buy premium content rather than auction buying – this will lead to higher rates for each impression, however, you ensure a more restricted, brand safe environment for your advertising.

Some of the major changes YouTube have been making include banning comments on child-related content, increasing the number of videos that are manually reviewed to improve the flagging technology, increasing the threshold of YouTube users for users to monetise their videos, and many more. Beyond this, there are also measures that we as agencies need to have in place.

All Response Media viewpoint

There is no way of guaranteeing 100% brand safety in all environments, however, there are several approaches we can follow to ensure we are utilising the available measures.

This includes:

  • Keyword exclusions: based on terrorism, racism, negative sentiment, fake news etc.
  • Channel exclusions: based on YouTube channels that have been flagged by Google as being controversial/negative.
  • Specific video exclusions: videos that have been previously flagged by Google, clients or internally.

As an agency, we have also partnered with industry-leading technology to add a secondary layer to monitor display and video activity. This allows us to report back on brand safety, as well as a wide range of viewability and invalid traffic metrics, helping to minimize wastage and fraud. This brand safety solution, called MOAT, provides complete assurance on where our ads are running.

MOAT uses sophisticated semantic keyword technology to detect non-brand safe pages across the following categories, feeding into our exclusion strategies across all platforms:

  • ­   Adult
  • ­   Crime
  • ­   Death and injury
  • ­   Violence
  • ­   Illegal downloads
  • ­   Drugs
  • ­  Hate speech
  • ­   Military
  • ­   Obscenity
  • ­   Terrorism
  • ­   Tobacco

YouTube allows us a layer of protection however at All Response Media, we ensure that we are consciously building on our brand safety measures; adding to our exclusion lists and ensuring that the precautions we have in place adapt over time. Partnering with ad tracking specialist partners allows us to look at brand safety through multiple platforms and ensure that there are sufficient processes in place.

This is an approach we take not only for YouTube but across all channels and environments, as brand safety needs to be looked at and reviewed continuously and treated with high importance.