To kickstart 2018, YouTube has blessed the industry with news of major changes in the running of the platform, announcing a new approach to monetisation and verification that includes the introduction of human vetting for all Google-preferred ad placements.

With goals of keeping violative content off YouTube – preventing ads from appearing where they shouldn’t and giving advertisers more control – they hope to help reassure the digital ad community that YouTube is the best place to advertise online.

This follows a turbulent year in which Google’s video platform became the target of claims of funding extremists, providing opportunities for paedophiles to operate and evade detection, and where one of their highest paid content partners (Logan Paul) posted a video of a dead body that was viewed over 6 million times, to worldwide condemnation.
The announcement is a much-needed start to the new year to help change perceptions of a business under intense scrutiny from journalists, advertisers and agencies alike.

Details released last month revealed the following:

  • Higher thresholds for content to be eligible for monetisation, based on watch-time and not view-count.
  • The deployment of a human-artificial intelligence hybrid approach to content verification.
  • ‘Google Preferred’ strengthening to 100% of channels and videos being manually reviewed.
  • A simple three-tier suitability system to enable clearer control over placement selections.

Beyond this, at the7stars we’re aware that the third-party integrations for viewability vendors currently in place will be extending to their brand safety tools, following trial periods this quarter. This should further bolster the opportunities for advertisers and agencies to refine their approaches in a customised fashion.

The changes have already been welcomed by the IPA, with Tom George, chair of the IPA’s Media Futures Group, saying: “We believe it is a step in the right direction and evidence that Google has listened to the advertising community to try to resolve the issues of brand safety that have been the subject of much concern in 2017.”

Whilst those advertisers who have had their ads misplaced in the past will likely proclaim that this comes too late for them, for the ‘so-far unscathed’ many it will be very reassuring that the protection of their brands when choosing to advertise on YouTube is vastly improving.

Let’s hope that 2018 becomes the year that sees the goliaths of the digital ad industry become more responsible for their actions in helping produce the safest, most effective places to advertise for brands.