Google will now offer its advertisers significantly more control over where exactly their advertisements appear upon when they are deploying them upon YouTube or the Google Display Network. The company is resorting to this measure after brands started pulling ads from the platform, citing the fact that they were appearing in places which promoted offensive content, such as videos promoting terrorism or Antisemitism.
And who could blame them. Would you buy a chocolate endorsed by Adolf Hitler?
We recognize the need to have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear. The intention of these policies is to prohibit ads from appearing on pages or videos with hate speech, gory or offensive content. In the vast majority of cases, our policies work as intended.
The organizations that have pulled advertisements include the U.K. government, the Guardian newspaper and France’s Havas. Havas’ is the world’s sixth largest advertising and marketing agency and its clients include mobile network O2, Royal Mail Plc, the BBC, Domino’s Pizza and Hyundai Kia. So, Google did lose a significant chunk of ad-dollars after it failed to reassure them that their ads won’t appear next to content that spread hate.
Google doesn’t exactly do it on purpose you see. The company has all these algorithms that place advertisements using code, automatically. Thanks to AdX, Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange Service, these companies found their advertisements next to content from extremists such as white nationalist David Duke, and other similar channels.
It really isn’t that the company is not working to address the issue. It is. After all, whenever a company pulls ads from its network, it is Google that get hurt. So it has all the motivation it could ever want. Indeed, the company removed nearly 2 billion offensive ads from its platforms last year and also blacklisted 100,000 publishers from the its ad sense program. However, it still has a long, long way to go.
For instance, Ads for the Guardian’s membership scheme appeared alongside a range of extremist material. Quite understandably, folks at the newspaper weren’t happy at all.
We’ve heard from our advertisers and agencies loud and clear that we can provide simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content. While we have a wide variety of tools to give advertisers and agencies control over where their ads appear, such as topic exclusions and site category exclusions, we can do a better job of addressing the small number of inappropriately monetized videos and content.
The company is starting off by reviewing its ad policies. Following a review, it will then start rolling out new tools to prevent these mishaps in the future.