Major marketers running paid-search ads or optimizing their brand content on Google’s and Bing’s search engines also run ads or create and upload videos to YouTube. In the past, many major brands have pulled their ads for lack of safety and policies that keep undesirable content off the site.
In fact, more than 250 brands reportedly stopped campaigns on YouTube and Google throughout the years, beginning in the UK, due to offensive or disturbing content on the video platform. Some of the bigger names include AT&T, Disney, Hasbro, P&G, and Nestle.
Now, with an additional investment in technology that analyzes videos to address brand safety, the Media Rating Council (MRC) has granted YouTube accreditation.
On Tuesday, YouTube announced it has become the first digital platform to receive accreditation for content and brand-safety specifications from the MRC in an effort to protect brands, allowing them to advertise in a safe environment.
When Inside Performance asked Jonathan Kagan, VP of search at agency 9Rooftops, the importance of YouTube content accreditation, he said it means nothing until they can prove their worth.
"This feels like a 'nice to have' for Google, to reinforce the message that they care about the advertisers," he wrote in an email to Inside Performance. "I struggle to see how it is actionable for the advertiser, so far. It is also tough to take brand safety accreditation seriously from an organization whose website isn’t even secure and still has a hit counter at the bottom of its page."
YouTube’s content and brand-safety accreditation follows a similar accreditation earned in 2018 for Google and YouTube ads to support advanced advertising measurement. It gave Google and YouTube video ad impressions and viewability metrics for desktop, mobile web, and mobile in-app full accreditation in Google Ads, Display & Video 360, and Campaign Manager.
Google's video site hosts a huge number of brands. Companies like Food52 rely on YouTube to support sales and marketing. The company doubled revenue in 2020.
Home category sales nearly tripled in that year, compared with 2019. Laundry bags made of washable paper were the No. 1 product in this category.
Content became a major traffic driver. Food52 grew recipe traffic more than 34% YoY, and overall site traffic rose by more than 30%.
At first, it was all ambitious baking projects, but as the months elapsed, people hit burnout and began to miss sushi, so the site shook up its content with videos in response. The company began 2020 with 112,000 YouTube subscribers and ended with 400,000 -- doubling its total views and nearly tripling the average watch time.
Concerns over ads serving up next to undesirable content are still on the minds of marketers. In February 2019, a blogger who goes by the name MattsWhatItIs claimed to have found a “wormhole into a soft-core pedophilia ring on Youtube.” He wrote that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm facilitates the ability for pedophiles to connect, trade contact info, and link to actual CP in the comments.
YouTube in a blog post explained its commitment to remaining at least 99% effective at ensuring that ad placements on YouTube are brand-safe.
Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, said in a statement that “YouTube's sustained commitment and investment to enable brands to advertise in safe environments," and hopes other video platforms will do the same.