VAB: Brand Safety Remains Serious Problem For YouTube

A new report from the Video Advertising Bureau, supported by large entertainment and cable companies, suggests that YouTube’s massive scale — a huge advantage when it comes to building audience share — makes brand-safety concerns harder to mitigate.

Late last year and early this year, YouTube found itself facing a wave of negative publicity surrounding brand safety concerns.

Logan Paul, one of the most popular creators on the platform, published a video of himself and friends discovering a suicide, a video that included close-up shots of the body.

What followed was a reckoning, with major brands moving their ad spend off of the platform, and YouTube cracking down on brand safety and monetization rules.

Similarly, a lack of transparency remains a concern, with only a fraction of the platform’s channels measured by comScore.

Even channels sold via Google Preferred, the company’s premium video inventory, do not disclose data that other content providers make available, such as available channels, or where ads will appear within certain verticals.



The VAB report did have a few bright spots.

As TV and film properties increase their video output on YouTube, and as some YouTube channels professionalize in terms of content and production, options for brand-safe environments have improved.

“Not all of YouTube’s popular content resides in an ambiguous and ungovernable advertiser setting,” said Sean Cunningham, VAB’s president-CEO, in a statement to Digital News Daily. “Popular content categories do exist where marketers can avoid pitfalls. New, professionally produced TV and film content makes its way to YouTube daily, offering a variety of premium, brand-safe options for digital advertisers.”

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