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Protect Your Ads, Protect Your Brand

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The internet is a seemingly infinite sea of information and entertainment … and advertising, too. Online marketing has become particularly advantageous, given the vast number of people it can reach around the world. But now, there is cause for concern. A New York Times investigation has prompted many big name companies and organizations to boycott advertising with Google-owned assets, as numerous ads have been placed alongside terrorist-related videos and other offensive materials.

Advertiser control over ad tracking and placement is now at center stage — Google doesn’t currently offer them much direct control. And in certain areas, Google itself lacks control, particularly with content uploaded to YouTube.

  •  Knowing where ads are placed can be crucial to your reputation.

The company’s policies prohibit ads on video content deemed to incite violence or promote illegal behavior. It uses software to scour YouTube titles and images to flag potentially inappropriate content. However, The New York Times reports that Google admits this practice is not perfect. Now the company has pledged to fix the problem.

Google’s solutions

The company has developed a three-pronged approach to alleviating the issue of erroneous ad placement, hoping to put an end to the boycott as soon as possible, says Seeking Alpha, a platform for financial investment research.

  1. Strengthen community guidelines and “where ads display” policies.

  2. Give advertisers more tactical control over where their ads appear.

  3. Provide increased insight and review options for advertisers.

Seeking Alpha noted that Google also plans to focus on protecting the platform of legitimate video and other content creators, as well as combat hate speech. Google says it’s looking at hiring additional staff for more comprehensive review of videos, and is also developing a software program that could identify and block offensive materials and videos.

Resolving the problems won’t be an overnight task. So, in the meantime, there are things that can be done to protect brands online.

What can advertisers do?

Knowing where ads are showing up and controlling where they run is crucial for any brand, according to Brite Content, a video marketing platform. And in the midst of the boycott storm, it’s crucial to find and stay on top of this information.

Knowing where your ads are is the first step, Brite Content says. Google AdWords allows advertisers to identify which campaign to examine. Information about video targeting for that campaign is available, and so is ad placement. Advertisers are able to see the number of views the ads have received, and can even see a listing of videos those ads have been placed with. Some of those videos may not have anything to do with the ad’s content, Brite Content notes, but it’s important to keep in mind that “with audience targeting, you are actually targeting the user and not what the user is watching.”

Advertising Age, publisher of marketing news, presents several potential solutions for advertisers to protect their brands, including creating a “whitelist” of higher-quality, more respectable websites to work with. This puts the brand in a more trusted group. By the same token, it could be helpful to also create a “blacklist” of sites that should not be used at all.

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