GroupM Partners with OpenSlate to Increase Brand Safety Amid YouTube Storm

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Mobile ad company Kargo, which only serves ads to sites featuring premium content, is benefitting from the Google boycott.

Google on Monday said it will apply machine smarts and outside eyes to help ensure brands don't find ads paired with hateful videos on YouTube. Surely it is acceptable for brands to choose which content they sponsor?

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has made some adjustments to how advertisers can control the type of content their ads appear next to, after several advertisers suspended business with Google amid objectionable content concerns.

Advertisers that have pulled ad spending from YouTube, and in some cases Google's display advertising networks, include AT&T, Verizon, FX Networks, PepsiCo, Walmart, Dish Network, Starbucks, GM, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lyft.

"Most brands today have scaled their advertising on digital platforms like YouTube, where most content is user-generated, but their needs for mature and safe ad products and environments persist", Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer at GroupM North America, said in a statement.

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Despite the seemingly endless stream of hateful, offensive content on various web platforms, there is cause for optimism about the online world. Often, there is a great deal of emphasis on who is looking at a Web page, as opposed to the content of the page - though marketers have been active in trying to avoid unsavoury content as they follow eyeballs around the Web and on social media.

That could be an important concession for advertisers, who've always been concerned that the "walled garden" nature of dominant digital platforms allows them to offer numbers and claims with no independent verification. But the fast action by big name advertisers in recent weeks to refuse to be linked to hateful content is encouraging evidence that we the consumers do have some muscles, and that brands will take note when we flex them.

JPMorgan Chase, one of the companies rethinking their ad strategy, narrowed down their whitelist (approved websites) from 400k websites to around 5k. As measurement errors plagued Facebook previous year, measurement vendors became more in demand.

In the United States, consumer groups such as Sleeping Giants have had success in lobbying brands to withdraw their ads from extremist websites including Breitbart News. However, according to IPG's soon-to-be-released Magna forecast, Mr. Roth said linear TV is pretty flat, while digital is up 10% to 14%. "You need to use [Sizmek-owned] Peer39.' It is more to elevate the discussion to say, 'Hey, you want to use the tools that you can best protect yourself with'".

But while Google works to get there, GroupM is jumping on the opportunity to tell its clients that it can protect them from their ads appearing anywhere untoward.