And Google’s investments in brand safety have focused on adding human content moderators and improving technology to scan posts for objectionable audio or video, neither of which account for the sewer of the comment section.
But even with Google’s investments, the inability to closely monitor YouTube campaigns makes brand safety failures like this a virtual inevitability, said Adam Heimlich, SVP of media at the ad consultancy GALE Partners.
“When you buy video through the Google stack, you have to create a separate line item for YouTube,” because YouTube doesn’t allow the same MRC-accredited monitoring technology, Heimlich said. “Where we can apply standard ad operations, advertisers catch things before the public does.”
Brands accept a shade of risk when they advertise on platforms like YouTube and Instagram that allow nearly uninhibited posting and commenting, similar to how programmatic buyers accept the reality of online bots, said Jeff Greenfield, co-founder and COO of the attribution tech company C3 Metrics.
The suspension of campaigns during brand safety controversies is more a result of political concerns, either leverage over Google or a response to public outcry, as opposed to measurably reducing ROI, he said.
Google told agency and brand executives on Monday that it has stepped up enforcement in the past year, including adding experts in child safety and psychology, former FBI prosecutors and specialists from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit founded and funded by the US Congress.