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YouTube scandal leaves APAC marketers 'unfazed'

News, 31 March 2017
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SINGAPORE: As widely reported over the past fortnight, many of the world's leading brands have pulled ads from Google-owned YouTube following reports that ads have been served on extremist websites, but it appears marketers in APAC remain sanguine on the issue.

According to Campaign Asia, which sounded out the opinion of some leading industry practitioners in the region, many are taking a long-term approach and expect Google to deal with the issue over time.

In the meantime – as with ad fraud, ad blocking and viewability – this latest problem to affect digital advertising is being seen as an opportunity for brands and advertisers to learn more about the channel.

The experts contacted by Campaign Asia agreed that the issue of ad misplacement is nothing new and nor will it be solved in the short-term, meaning that the attention it is now receiving should be welcomed.

"Because Google has dominated online video advertising for so long, and at such a large scale, local publishers are taking the chance to take a punch at Google when they can," said Joe Nguyen, APAC SVP at comScore.

But, he added: "Shutting off all Facebook or YouTube is just silly." And that's because YouTube's channel partners are well understood and represent a relatively safe pool of content, he said.

Nguyen expressed confidence that Google will announce more measures to address the immediate issue in the short-term, and this would then encourage brands to spend again.

However, brands would still have to accept that there always will be some level of risk associated with digital advertising. "Yes, you have to do certain brand safety hygiene, but you can never be 100% brand safe," he said.

Meanwhile, one of Campaign Asia's other sources, who works for a media network on the programmatic side, confirmed that multinational brands represent the majority of brands in the region who have suspended their marketing activity.

And Scott McBride, APAC Chief Digital Officer with IPG Mediabrands, said there has been no real pattern to the reactions from brands, adding that multinational and local brands are responding on a market-by market basis. "Google understands the pressure they are under," he added.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by WARC staff

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