Advertisers have long been demanding greater transparency, and an increase in the ability to be sure that their ads won’t be displayed near undesirable content. This is a hard thing to accomplish, especially on a platform like YouTube where the content itself is generated by users, and it is impossible for YouTube to review each of the millions of minutes of video that are uploaded every day.
According to a recent announcement, YouTube is working to pacify brands by making the ad program more exclusive. This means that fewer content creators will be able to qualify to get into the ad program, which will give YouTube, and advertisers, more overall control. This change will apply both to their normal ad program and the Google Preferred Videos program. For the preferred videos, YouTube is promising ‘full human oversight’ of the program.
This change is happening after a few very high profile preferred video producers have published content that brands (and many viewers) found questionable at best. Last year, one popular channel created a video with Spiderman and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen committing violent and obscene acts, which drew outrage from parents as well as advertisers.
One of the biggest YouTubers, Logan Paul, was very recently removed from the preferred program because he published a video that showed a dead body, which he found in ‘suicide forest’ in Japan. This video was seen as very insensitive especially because Logan Paul’s main audience is young teens, whose parents likely don’t want them viewing videos about suicide (even if, as Logan Paul said, it was meant to create awareness and prevention. He has since apologized for his poor judgement).
Prior to YouTube’s changes, any content creator that got 10,000 views on their channel could join their ads program. With the new updates, channels also need 1000 subscribers, and have at least 4000 hours of view time over the past 12 months in order to join.
For the preferred program, YouTube said this will be a manual process to join, and they will also bring in a third party to help ensure the content meets their standards. This will certainly make things more difficult for many YouTube content creators, but in the end, it will help to keep brands happy, which is very important too. These changes will take effect in February.