Following a series of high-profile brands pulling digital ads from Google’s Display and YouTube networks over concerns over ad placement, Google has announced a series of measures to regain the trust of its customers.
Responding to well publicised discontent, chief business officer Phillip Schindler announced in a recent blog post that Google will promise to increase transparency for advertisers, bolster its own internal resources and improve automated processes to monitor and vet YouTube and web content where ads appear:
“We'll be hiring significant numbers of people and developing new tools powered by our latest advancements in AI and machine learning to increase our capacity to review questionable content for advertising. In cases where advertisers find their ads were served where they shouldn’t have been, we plan to offer a new escalation path to make it easier for them to raise issues. In addition, we’ll soon be able to resolve these cases in less than a few hours.”
Google has also stated that it intends to upgrade the controls provided to advertisers.
This includes changes to the default settings present within ad will automatically update to only include web and video placements that pass a higher safety standard than previously. It will also introduce improved options to blacklist specific sites and channels from AdWords Video and Display Network campaigns, alongside stricter ad policies for publishers who seek to monetise their content.
It should be noted that some of these features are already present in some form within Google’s AdWords interface, though are often overlooked by advertisers. It will be interesting to see just what form these “upgrades” take, what steps Google takes to encourage their use, and how much onus is placed on advertisers to take responsibility for their own campaigns.
The backlash against Google raises further questions over the value and quality of the wider programmatic media industry, where the details of individual ad impressions and placements are often clouded.
Digital advertising undeniably delivers peak advertising performance when harnessing data-driven insights to drive response, but where organisations are concerned about the integrity of their brand, human input is clearly becoming more important than ever.