Despite the predictions that YouTube would suffer significant losses in what has become popularly known as the Adpocalypse, a recent study has revealed that the top-tier ad inventory, Google Preferred, has slowed by just 5%.
Earlier this year, YouTube announced changes to its ad policies and Channel approval process amid damaging reports from The Times of London that some of the largest brands advertising with YouTube had their ads appear on offensive videos from homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist sites. This followed earlier evidence from The Wall Street Journal, which led to mass backlash and the threat of major brand companies pulling out of Google’s ad exchange network.
YouTube, concerned about mass migration of companies like Starbucks, General Motors, Pepsi and Walmart from the platform, assured big brands that they were ‘safe’, by changing the criteria required to which channels could use (and make profit from) ads.
Experts and industry professionals expressed surprise at the level of decline, many of whom expected a far more dramatic exodus, particularly following dozens of news stories exposing the issue.
By April, however, Google Preferred experienced a five percent reduction in advertiser numbers. There are mixed feelings in the industry, with some believing that YouTube got off a little lightly in this case, and others accepting that the issue was addressed swiftly and effectively.
Media professionals note that this should not have any long-term effect, as YouTube’s actions and changes seem to have restored some faith. Those who did leave Google Preferred include Starbucks, Pepsi, AT&T and Dish, but Walmart, General Motors and Johnson & Johnson made the decision to stay. General Motors, however, did make moves to ensure brand safety by moving their ads to the YouTube home page instead.
CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki said, ‘We apologize for letting some of you down. I’m here to say that we can and we will do better.’