Nadav Shmuel

By Nadav Shmuel

August 15, 2018

Brand safety and YouTube Advertising ‒ Your five minute brief

What marketers and media agencies really need to know about YouTube brand safety ‒ Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


The world’s number one video platform offers unbeatable global reach, with over one billion users, amounting to almost one-third of Internet users. How can media buyers take advantage of YouTube’s huge reach, while making sure their ads appear next to videos that are relevant, safe, and likely to boost sales?

Since its inception in 2015, Precise.TV has delivered relevant ad placements that transform ad performance on YouTube ‒ improving TrueView view through rates by an average of 50%. Not only that, but our process safeguards brand safety by providing video level control to marketers over their ad placements.

In this five minute brief, Precise.TV gives some quick pointers for advertisers keen to deliver YouTube ad placements that are both high-performing and brand safe.

How does YouTube select placements for its advertisers?

There are two main ways that YouTube places videos alongside ads. One is “contextual,” based on keywords. For instance, if BMW bids to place ads against videos which feature the “BMW” keyword, an ad for the brand may appear alongside episodes of Top Gear, a relevant and effective placement.

However, YouTube’s algorithm also assigns ads to videos through “behavioral” placements. If a user watches a DIY video on how to grout tiles, they may see a BMW ad because they watched a BMW video at some point in the past, and that was recorded in their user data.

We go into this in more detail in the insider’s guide, as well as explain how Precise.TV’s services reinforce contextual placement, making ads even more relevant and high performing.

So how does Precise.TV solve these brand safety issues?

Precise.TV blends considerable industry expertise with machine-learning algorithms to analyze millions of videos, identifying the most appropriate ones for your ad placements. Our service identifies contextually relevant videos for your ads, removing on average 50% of placements deemed irrelevant and unsafe.

Precise.TV takes a three-step approach to delivering more relevant, brand-safe, and better performing campaigns. First, we filter out any non-relevant and brand-unsafe videos before the campaign goes live, to optimize performance from the start. Then we use real-time analytics to manage performance at granular placement level throughout the campaign period. Finally, we provide clear and actionable analytics to inform future campaigns.

What is Google doing to safeguard brand safety for YouTube advertisers?

In response to this year’s brand boycott, Google introduced changes to YouTube advertising, restricting advertising to channels with at least 10,000 views, and starting a process of auditing videos to see if they were appropriate for advertisers. At Precise.TV, we share the industry’s confidence that Google will resolve any “video nasty” issues, such as Jihadi content, as a matter of priority. For non-relevant placements that don’t damage brand safety as such, but can nevertheless affect performance, Precise.TV provides video-level transparency as additional reassurance.

Can advertisers have it all ‒ brand safety and YouTube ad performance?

Brand safety, such as the cases exposed by The Times, is a headline-grabbing issue, but it’s just one element of the Precise.TV offer. For brands, an equally important task is to find ways of improving the performance of their YouTube ads through more relevant placements. This is where Precise.TV’s understanding, as a Google Partner, of the YouTube ecosystem really makes a difference for brands.

Unilever CMO Keith Weed has told the Wall Street Journal that it is the responsibility of brands to make sure their ads appear in the right placements. He said the best way to achieve this is by working with third-party services. At Precise.TV, our service ensures that your ads appear in the right placements, and, crucially, that those placements are safe for your brand. We improve VTR by an average of 50% and product interest by up to 161%, while delivering peace of mind on the brand safety front..

Get the full story with Precise.TV's insider's guide to safeguarding brand and reputation on YouTube

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