GroupM confirms OpenSlate deal to boost YouTube brand safety protection | M&M Global

GroupM confirms OpenSlate deal to boost YouTube brand safety protection

GroupM has confirmed it plans to enhance its brand safety measures on YouTube media buys – revealed exclusively by M&M Global – through a partnership with social video analytics company OpenSlate.

Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer, GroupM North America
Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer, GroupM North America

At a breakfast briefing held last week, global executive vice president of brand safety John Montgomery revealed GroupM was taking measures to minimise the risk of campaigns appearing alongside inappropriate YouTube content.

The WPP agency group has now confirmed details of its agreement with OpenSlate, which claims to score YouTube content for quality and brand safety, and offer advertisers contextual insights.

According to a joint statement, OpenSlate will provide GroupM’s agencies with “additional controls” and “content safeguards” on all YouTube media buys.

The measures are applicable to both reserved media, such as Google Preferred, and auction-based inventory bought via AdWords or DoubleClick Bid Manager. Advertisers will be able to specify the type of content that should be excluded from YouTube buys, the companies added.

The solution will roll out in the US and UK, though GroupM says plans are “underway” to extend it to “additional” international markets.

“Long gone are the days when advertisers could simply rely on reaching audiences in carefully curated programming environments,” said Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer at GroupM North America.

“Most brands today have scaled their advertising on digital platforms like YouTube, where most content is user-generated, but their needs for mature and safe ad products and environments persist.

“Although it is not possible to eliminate all risks in user-generated media, our clients’ hard-won brand reputations must be protected with the best efforts possible. We appreciate that Google is enabling our work with OpenSlate to provide our clients with better brand safety controls, and we believe it’s essential that all digital platforms carrying ad-supported user-generated content do the same.”

OpenSlate chief executive Mike Henry added: “Our initial focus is to use OpenSlate data to better ensure that GroupM’s ads run only in content that flexibly matches the brand safety parameters established by their clients.

“Every client is unique and each has different brand values and tolerance for risk, which GroupM agencies can accommodate through their use of OpenSlate’s data and tools. Over time, more transparency about where ads are running on YouTube will strengthen the ecosystem and help advertisers better understand the role that YouTube content plays in campaign performance.”

Many advertisers, including Johnson & Johnson, General Motors and the UK government, have suspended their investment in YouTube advertising in recent weeks, following revelations that ads had run alongside terrorist content.

According to a note from analysts at Nomura Instinet, Google could lose up to $750m from the advertiser boycott, with YouTube taking a potential 7.5% hit to its estimated $10.2bn revenues for 2017.


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