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Brand safety is a major topic of discussion in the marketing/advertising world, and rightfully so. Marketers must ensure that their brands are being represented in an environment that they feel comfortable with, and that matches their message.

Google has a long history of protecting the integrity of their advertisers over the last decade, so it came as somewhat of a surprise to the industry when news began to break in March that the UK government and several “major” brands were pulling their ads from YouTube following the discovery that their content was appearing alongside extremist videos on YouTube.  Not a good look all around.

So, what’s at the core of the issue here?

YouTube has a critical mass of viewers globally, directly related to the fact that 400+ hrs of content are posted each minute (let that sink in for a minute). Giving advertisers the ability to approach a target audience at scale is only feasible by providing a series of tools to automate this process. This is what makes the Google and YouTube ecosystem so popular, but understanding how to execute on an advertising campaign in this environment is critical, so issues such as this are prevented.

Determining security settings is critical, and modifying customer settings to be more stringent than the standard out-of-the-box settings suggested by YouTube is highly recommended. For us, this is table stake when launching a campaign in the YouTube environment.

As a reaction to the press around this story, YouTube has expanded their safeguards even more in three areas: ad policies, the enforcement of these policies, and new controls for advertisers. These safeguards are a strong addition to the platform, we are utilizing them for all our clients and are pleased with the added safeguard measures.

Also, as an additional step, Google has committed to beefing up and developing new tools to increase their capacity for reviewing content, and to be more transparent with their advertisers. Brand safety is always a priority for us and we are pleased to see how quickly Google responded to the issue. The digital world is in a constant state of evolution, especially in user-driven environments so we will continue to monitor this situation and keep you informed.

As concerned about Brand Safety measures as we are, we would love to hear from you.