Google has a new nightmare in its hands.
Large businesses including AT&T, Verizon, McDonald’s, HSBC, L’Oreal, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J) are pulling their ads from Youtube and all other Google platforms (but not from Google Search ads) over inappropriate placement concerns.
Real advertising, false backing
“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” said an AT&T spokesperson to Business Insider.
This latest development follows widely reported instances of their ads consistently appearing on the screen next to extremist videos on Youtube and 2 million other sites in Google’s display network.
Google has already been on the back foot in Europe last week, over the same concern.
An investigation by The Times of London found that some UK government ads were displayed next to ISIS operated extremist video sites.
Essentially providing these extremist groups with British taxpayers money.
The latest news indicate that the crisis is now spreading in North America as well.
Better be quick
In a statement to BuzzFeed News Verizon said: “Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation.”
This poses serious threats to Google’s bottom line, if it is not contained swiftly.
Last year alone YouTube raked in $5.58 billion in ad revenues for Google.
History repeating itself
Google has sought to address client complaints. Philipp Schindler, Google’s CBO promised in a blogpost new tools for businesses to better control ad displays this week.
Clearly, that would do little to contain the latest continued walk out of giant businesses.
Google has also had a poor record of keeping up with the demand of removing hateful material from YouTube, another Times interview found.
Issues with their backbone
Some of the times, the report claims, YouTube struggles to enforce its own guidelines, despite of being notified of violations.
They target people in what is called “programmatic advertising”.
Necessity of change
How such standard operating procedures would have to be adjusted remains to be seen.
“They’re saying they’re trying harder — that’s insufficient,” Brian Wieser, a media analyst with Pivotal Research said of Google. “They don’t seem to understand the scale of the perceived problem.”