Google Introduces New Ad Filters to Bolster Brand Safety



New filters allow advertisers to block their content from violence, nudity, and political satire.

Amid growing concerns from advertisers that their marketing messages are being placed alongside inappropriate content, Google is introducing new ad filters to help improve the brand safety of its advertising offerings.

Earlier this year, several major consumer brands, including McDonald’s and Johnson & Johnson, yanked their ads from the YouTube network after learning their content was being placed alongside offensive material, such as videos from terrorist groups. Analysts predict the boycott could cost Google $750 million.

The filters, which will be rolling out by end of year, are designed to help advertisers avoid appearing alongside questionable content across three categories: nudity, political satire, and violence. Examples of such content could include anything from a sexually explicit music video to a highly politicized comedy bit.

With the update, companies will be better able to target relevant audiences at the right time and in a context that won’t be detrimental to their brands, helping to foster trust and effective storytelling. In short, the goal is to mimic relative brand safety of the TV-ad environment.

Earlier this month, The Drum reported that Google is doubling down on artificial intelligence as a means for identifying and removing suspect content from its platform. Since its launch, YouTube has helped democratize the online video landscape and has made it possible for people to publish video content to the masses.

With this unmistakable benefit has come increased challenges when it comes to monitoring hate speech and ensuring that advertisers are safe from their ads running alongside offensive content. To this end, Google hopes that AI is an efficient solution for protecting its partners from such circumstances. So far, Google says the technology has been effective at removing 75 percent of the suspect content before reaching a human reviewer.

Brand safety is a growing concern among buyers as media dollars continue to flow to programmatic—with estimates predicting that spend will top $17 billion in 2017 alone. Given the volume of content available, the use of AI seems like the most effective way to monetize content while mitigating risk.

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