While Google apologised and outlined steps it would take to guard against those situations, it has also defended itself by pointing to the volume of content it oversees. The company noted that four of the 48 videos highlighted by news outlets over the past month would, even under the new policies, not automatically disable ads. DiClemente estimates that the boycotting companies are responsible for 8-12% of YouTube's advertising revenue.
As we reported last month, many advertisers - especially ones based in the United Kingdom - pulled their ads from Google's platforms citing concerns of associating their brand with questionable content. Automatically classifying entire videos, then flagging and filtering content is a more hard, expensive research endeavour and one that Google has not focused on much - until now.
"We take this as seriously as we've ever taken a problem", Schindler told the Times. "We have limited resources".
He added, "I certainly don't think YouTube is the only one here that's got challenges".
"Since the recent concerns on YouTube, we have definitely seen a large uptick in in-bound inquiries, not only from brands looking for a third-party brand safety solutions, but from agency holding companies looking to build their own customized content scoring of YouTube", said Channel Factory CEO Tony Chen.
Ryan maintained that if the number of ad placements affected on YouTube had been big, Google would have come out and said what that percentage was. Another feature Google promised will use machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to flag suspect videos.
"It has always been a small problem with very very very small numbers of ads running against videos that aren't brand safe".
Brands using YouTube and other Google products have the ability to target certain demographics very precisely, but can not control on which videos and websites their brand appears - as that is decided by an algorithm.
"We have a set of tools that measure brand safety and quality with video data and deliver it in a way that they can target media accordingly", Henry said. People spend time either on major platforms or niche destinations, Cakmak wrote in a note to investors. "You need to use [Sizmek-owned] Peer39.' It is more to elevate the discussion to say, 'Hey, you want to use the tools that you can best protect yourself with'". For small operations and individuals, it lets them display ads and collect ad revenue without having to sell the space themselves. "But it isn't", he said at Google's annual advertising show.
YouTube must not allow ads to be served unless the content has been approved and correctly classified as news or documentaries, or comedy or for kids and so on. Content that promotes negative stereotypes of certain groups through inappropriate jokes and insults and content that denies sensitive historical events such as the Holocaust, will also be included.
Some researchers argue digital platforms should rely on humans to make these editorial decisions.
Nor is the company willing to alter YouTube's fundamental formula. The predicament for Google is to manage the placement of ads for a user without betraying the trust of it's customers.
Advertisers aren't happy about this new attention, Schindler said, it's that attention that's caused advertisers like AT&T, Nestle and Johnson & Johnson to pull their ads. "You can't guarantee it".
The executive likened Google's ad business to an airline: Each faces long-tail risk beyond its control. "You can just depress the error rate to the lowest level".