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YouTube Receives Brand Safety Accreditation: Just The Facts

February 24, 2021 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_1064473979 Penang, Malaysia - April 6, 2018: Woman holding a smartphone with social Internet service Youtube on the screen. Blurred cafe interior on a background.

After a year of major growth for YouTube, the digital video platform scored another big win, receiving accreditation for brand safety from the Media Rating Council (MRC). This brand safety accreditation is likely to make YouTube even more desirable to advertisers concerned about their ads being served next to questionable or inappropriate content.

What Is Brand Safety?

“Brand safety” means that a platform or publisher has measures in place to protect the reputation and integrity of advertisers, as it pertains to where ads are placed. In past years, YouTube encountered some hiccups with brand safety, with online news network Cheddar reporting that “YouTube faced scrutiny in 2017 when reports showed several of its brand clients had their advertising run next to extremist and terrorist content, causing marketers to pull millions of dollars away from the platform.” Since then, YouTube has implemented better “technology, policy and human solutions and has committed to ensuring 99% brand safety.” 

How Did YouTube Earn The MRC Brand Safety Accreditation?

MRC conducted a variety of audits of YouTube, including reviews of:

  • YouTube’s newly implemented brand safety measures
  • YouTube’s internal standards for placing ads as compared to the rest of the industry
  • The effectiveness of the tools YouTube offers to advertisers that want to be more selective about what videos and verticals their ads appear alongside
  • The incident rate for ads appearing near inappropriate content

“MRC awarded the accreditation when YouTube met various standards, including that the incident rate for ads appearing on inappropriate videos was ‘immaterial’ and less than 1%,” reported Sheila Dang for Reuters.

“YouTube is the first service we’ve accredited against MRC’s Enhanced Content Level Context and Brand Safety Guidelines,” said George W. Ivie, executive director and CEO of MRC. “When we issued those guidelines in 2018, we recognized we had set a high bar for brand safety protection, and YouTube has now met that bar thanks to its years of dedication to brand safety and to the MRC audit process. This ongoing commitment presents a much needed path for other digital platforms and the rest of the industry to follow.”

Why Is The MRC Brand Safety Accreditation Important?

The MRC Brand Safety Accreditation “is really important for us [YouTube] because our customers [advertisers] have told us that having third-party validation of our brand safety systems was essential to them, and that's why we are humbled to be the first digital platform to reach this accreditation,” said Debbie Weinstein, YouTube's vice president of global solutions, when explaining the MRC designation to Cheddar. When advertisers feel more confident about where their ads are placed, and feel assured their brand integrity and reputation is a top concern of platforms and publishers, they are more likely to spend media dollars with that platform or publisher. YouTube’s efforts to “support a responsible ecosystem” offers that reassurance. 

Are You Looking For New Safe Ways To Reach Targeted Audiences?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) understands how important it is for brands to stay within the lines, so we have prioritized and operationalized compliance across everything we do to offer brand-safe digital consumer engagement opportunities. Our digital performance advertising solutions offer unprecedented visibility into campaign elements and performance and best-in-class, real-time data validation to help verify the accuracy of every data point.

Contact DMS

About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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