Marketing corporation Omnicom Media Group is looking at new ways to make YouTube a more brand-safe environment for clients with the launch of programmes and software that sift through the masses of video content on the platform and add clips and channels to a “whitelist” for its advertising clients.
Omnicom will combine tech and human input to review content on YouTube and score it in regard to its brand safety. It will then be added to a list, which will be accessible by clients including McDonald’s, Pepsi, Volkswagen and AT&T, some of whom were recently among the scores of advertisers who pulled ads and froze spending due to concerns about content placement.
Google wasn’t able to ensure that ads wouldn’t be placed against offensive and hateful content, and many big brands didn’t want to inadvertently fund those promoting it. However, Omnicom is now endeavouring to make YouTube more of a safe haven for brands by conducting constant checks and scoring posts.
“We’re building this from the ground up,” Omnicom’s Chief Digital Officer, Jon Anselmo, said. “These are whitelisted pools of inventory that we can say with extremely high confidence are safe for clients.” Omnicom added in a statement: “Scores will be determined by utilising AI and will be built upon public and non-public meta data that had previously been unavailable to advertisers.”
Anselmo added that YouTube’s traditional process of eliminating bad seeds and punishing bad content upon detection is “never going to be sufficient” due to the sheer scale of the infinite pools of video inventory on the platform. Omnicom is hopeful, but not certain, that advertisers will return following the release of the new programme.
Many of the problems initially stemmed from advertisers targeting the cheapest ad space without consideration for the quality of content, and it appears that the controversy has alerted all parties involved to improve content placement methods. YouTube is also giving brands greater control and introducing more stringent policies to alleviate concerns.
Omnicom’s rival WPP also revealed last week that it will work closely with video ad tech enterprise OpenSlate to whitelist channels on YouTube. It said that its process of evaluating hundreds of millions of videos has enabled it to outline a group of 850,000 channels that are deemed safe enough for advertisers to consider using in the future.