Adage has taken a look into what Youtube are doing and how it squeezes content creators. "As YouTube Tinkers With Ad Formula, Its Stars See Their Videos Lose Money." There used to be two filters to select when you wanted to advertise on YouTube, today there's five.
The video site is not messing around with its ad-block button as it scrubs itself clean for marketers after hundreds of brands froze spending there because ads were appearing alongside objectionable, and even terrorist-backed, videos.
It has sent a note to advertisers telling them about new filters they can apply to campaigns that will help them avoid more types of objectionable content. There used to be two filter categories known as "sensitive subject exclusions" for "sensitive social issues" and "tragedy and conflicts," which advertisers could proactively avoid.
Now, there are five exclusions, including "sexually suggestive," "sensational and shocking," and "profanity and rough language," according to an agency executive who received the update from Google.
"Advertisers can be more conservative by implementing sensitive subject exclusions," Google said in its note, which was sent out within the past week.
The new filter categories are some of the first tangible steps coming out of YouTube to address content concerns and give advertisers more control over where their ads appear. They also mean creators will face more scrutiny over their subject matter.
Just like last year Youtube creators are calling it censorship when their videos are demonetized for failing to adhere to YouTube's safe content ideas. To be clear, Google is making the web poorer, when the world allows them to be the arbitrary judge of what content is deemed friendly, but they are only in that position because youtube creators put them there while chasing manna from adwords.
The big brand exodus from Google Adwords is a huge blow to the tech giant, who have failed to sort out not placing government ads on ISIS recruitment videos for several years, despite being the smartest guys in the room.
Unsurprisingly Campaign Live reports broadcasters are boosted by YouTube brand boycott, after all the digital ad-spend budget still has to be spent somewhere. There's not been an uptick in the traditional TV market, but broadcasters like Channel 4, ITV and Sky who have their own online video sites in the UK are seeing significant increase in adspend. A bonus to this is - obviously - is that there's no middleman named Google taking their cut.
Jonathan Allan, sales director at Channel 4, said: "We have taken more money from advertisers who have ‘paused’ on YouTube."
He predicted "a return to triple-A broadcast quality, over the current junk-bond status of YouTube and social video".
Simon Daglish, deputy managing director of commercial at ITV, added: "We have seen more growth than we were projecting in our VoD channels. It’s been a significant uptick."
John Litster, managing director at Sky Media, said: "We have taken some cash that may have been heading to YouTube. It’s going into exactly the place where YouTube can’t guarantee it [brand safety]. It’s going into premium broadcast VoD through the settop box and through the Sky Go app."
Tim Pool demonstrates how he can run "any video I want, on any channel that I want" by a few simple clicks in the Youtube adwords dashboard. He selects a coke film to run as an ad on a White Power/Klan meetup clip, with the destination link being a KKK board. He never lets the bought ad go through approval, so it's unclear whether it actually would be approved, but regardless he has demonstrated a massive flaw in the Google adword system on Youtube. This means that any commercial uploaded by any brand could be used as a pre-roll ad on any other content. By anyone. I've never seen "delete your Youtube channel now" spelled out quite so clearly for big brands before.
If brands want control - and they do - they should not upload their videos to Youtube at all. In this day and age when even ten year olds can build websites with video playback, it seems ludicrous to relinquish control of your content to Youtube. For the broadcaster that have yet to create their own video websites and apps, it seems this would be the time to invest in that if you want to share in ITV and Channel4's ad income success.