Following up on a commitment last week to address advertiser concerns about where their ads were showing, Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler outlined and reiterated the steps the company is taking on brand safety measures in a blog post Wednesday.
The moves come after hundreds of advertisers have pulled advertising from Google and YouTube over ads continuing to display alongside extremist content. The boycott started in the UK after the British government pulled its own ads and summoned Google to appear before the British Cabinet Office. It quickly spread to the US, with major brands pulling ad spend from YouTube and Google Display Network (GDN).
Schindler reiterated that thousands of sites are added daily to the GDN and more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and he provided some new details on the efforts already announced last Tuesday.
New brand safety tools in development
These were outlined in Schindler’s previous post, but the new controls will include these measures:
New default setting: Ad settings will now default to exclude “potentially objectionable content.” It’s not clear yet what those categories will be. Advertisers can choose to opt back in to the default exclusions.
Account-level exclusions: Instead of having to add exclusions at the campaign level, advertisers will be able to exclude site placements and YouTube channels accountwide.
New controls: It’s vague at this point, but Google says it will add controls to exclude content and fine-tune where their ads can appear.
Getting stricter on hate speech
Google says it will remove ads “more effectively” from content that attacks or harasses people based on race, religion, gender or similar categories. This is not a change in policy, but apparently a change in stridency. The post did not explain the kinds of added measures being taken or why they weren’t already in place.
Re-examining what content can appear on YouTube
YouTube may get stricter on the kind of content that can even show up on the platform, much less have ads served against it. The team is reviewing its existing community guidelines around the kind of content that’s allowed on the platform, “not just what content can be monetized.”
In the meantime, the company says it is taking measures to ensure ads show on YouTube Partner Program creator content and not on videos that impersonate other channels or violate community guidelines.
More detailed reporting & faster review process
In the coming months, Google will make video-level reporting available to all advertisers.
The company says it will be hiring “significant numbers of people” and developing tools to be able to increase capacity for reviewing ad-enabled content and provide a faster process for advertisers to escalate complaints about ads being served on objectionable content. The aim is to resolve issues in “less than a few hours.”
Whether these efforts will allay advertiser objections remains to be seen.