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UK brands still harbour YouTube safety concerns

News, 11 May 2017
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LONDON: While some brands have resumed ads on video-sharing platform YouTube, a number of large UK brands remain unconvinced by the site, and parent company Google's assurances.

Brands such as McDonald's and RBS have resumed buying ad space on Youtube, Marketing Week reports, but the majority are waiting for better guarantees before returning to the platform.

"We are not going back [to Google or YouTube] until they have basically confirmed and solidified the guarantees and protection that are required not just for our brand but many others too," said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director for marketing at M&S.

The UK retail veteran noted the "sensitivity in the marketing community" surrounding The Times' investigation. Whilst he acknowledged the search giant's progress, he nevertheless felt that "they are not quite there yet."

Similarly, Channel 4 marketing boss, Dan Brooke remains "extremely concerned" about the placement of the broadcaster's ads alongside "highly offensive material" on YouTube.

"We have yet to receive adequate enough assurances from Google that it is a safe environment and until that time we will continue to take advantage of other platforms for our advertising," he added.

Last month, Google announced that, amongst other measures, it was hiring the cross-platform measurement firm comScore to improve the independent brand safety of ads. The company has also imposed stricter rules on where ads appear, such as on videos with fewer than 10,000 views.

David Wheldon, CMO at RBS, and president of the WFA, notes that Google "has responded well" to concerns over brand safety.

Despite the return of RBS ads to the platform, the bank recognises that this is a "global advertising issue" and that Google must "be more cautious around where our brand goes."

In addition to RBS' resumption of advertising on YouTube, QSR titan McDonald's confirmed that it had also returned "after assurances had been made."

However, Wheldon observes that many colleagues are not entirely confident about YouTube's ability to fix the problem: an issue, he says, that will linger "until this digital duplicity stops."

Data sourced from Marketing Week, WARC; additional content by WARC staff.

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