NEW YORK: When brands pulled their ads from YouTube last year after it was revealed that these were appearing next to inappropriate content, JP Morgan decided to create an internal tool to ensure brand safety on the video platform.

Having been dissatisfied with YouTube’s response to the claims, the bank developed an in-house algorithm which plugs into YouTube’s application programming interface (API), built by the firm’s internal programmatic and media-buying teams, an executive told Business Insider.

Jake Davidow, executive director of media and channel strategy at JPMorgan Chase explained that when the news broke about ads appearing next to unacceptable content, the firm pulled spend straight away. Before it went back to the platform, Davidow said, “we wanted to figure out a scalable solution and make sure we got it right”.

The tech is effectively made up of a series of filters that allow the bank to sift through YouTube Channels and work out which are safe and which are not. Filters include total video count to avoid any one-off viral videos, as well as number of subscribers and the channel’s chosen topics.

Within the bank, many believed that Google’s model of monetisation within YouTube may work for it, but it doesn’t work for brands. The protection of a brand, said Aaron Smolick, executive director of paid-media analytics and optimisation, “has to fall on the actual people within the brand itself”.

Since last year, there has been growing concern among advertisers around Google’s inability to “guarantee” brand safety. In the meantime, the company has been increasing its moderation efforts, often with the aid of artificial intelligence.

“The biggest lesson for us was that we realized that it wasn’t a black-and-white conversation with good guys or bad guys, but a gradient,” Smolick noted, adding that he believed the debate would evolve into a more nuanced situation in which each brand decides what it deems appropriate.

Sourced from Business Insider; additional content by WARC staff