Is Youtube still good place to market yourself?
In the past two weeks, several large companies like Disney, Nestle, and Epic Games (the creator of the popular game ‘Fortnite’) have suspended advertising on YouTube. The impetus seems to be a 20-minute video created on February 17th, 2019 by user MattsWhatItIs outlining and defending his claim that YouTube facilitates and monetizes the exploitation of young children.
Youtube had actually posted an updated policy back in November of 2017 in an attempt to make the platform more advertiser-friendly and crack down on such content. The policy stated that they would have “tougher enforcement through technology” and remove ads from inappropriate videos targeting families. Critics like MattsWhatItIs say they haven’t done enough.
YouTube addressed the issue last week by automatically disabling comments on “tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior.” They are also implementing other measures such as launching a new “comments classifier” to remove predatory comments without affecting the monetization of the video. Keep in mind that upwards of 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
This isn’t the first time that advertisers have backed out of YouTube due to concerns over what videos their ads were playing alongside. Two years ago, marketers realized their ads were being run alongside hateful content and other large companies like AT&T and Proctor & Gamble stopped advertising on YouTube (though they have since returned).
Many content creators make comedic, satirical, or controversial content aimed at adults. Some have suffered demonetization, videos being taken down, or their comment sections removed amongst YouTube’s attempts to crack down on predatory content. If you are a content creator using YouTube to market yourself on the platform, these new regulations could possibly affect you. If any of your content features minors, adult language, simulated violence, or controversial topics, be aware that your videos may be demonetized or removed amongst the sweeping changes.
On the flipside, if your content is fully family-friendly, you can continue to upload videos and grow your channel as previously.
So should you advertise yourself on YouTube? Well, it depends on whether you are a marketer or a content creator. Especially with these policy updates, what benefits one group doesn’t benefit the other.
If you’re an advertiser or marketer, not a content creator, the benefits and risks are different. Here are some pros and cons:
Youtube is a huge platform with one of the largest potential audiences on the internet. There are more than one billion users on Youtube, and despite the recent controversies it shows no signs of slowing down. Due to the diversity and size of the audience, there is a huge potential market for your product or service. YouTube offers an affordable alternative to television ads through Google AdWords with the ability to target audiences at a high level based on their Google accounts.
You don’t control what videos your ads play on or next to. While YouTube is certainly working towards removing inflammatory, hateful, or inappropriate content, there are loopholes.The algorithm isn’t perfect. With the huge potential benefit of advertising on Youtube comes the risk that your ads will play alongside content that doesn’t fit with your branding or beliefs.