With NewFront Season rapidly approaching, YouTube couldn’t have picked a worse time to have an advertiser crisis. Maybe that’s why it’s doing all it can to reassure brands and limit ads on hateful channels.
Yesterday, YouTube announced changes to which channels in the YouTube Partner Program can show and profit from ads. Under new rules, partner channels need to accumulate 10,000 lifetime views to quality for ads, YouTube says
“This new threshold gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel. It also allows us to confirm if a channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies,” wrote Ariel Bardin, vice president of product management for YouTube, in a blog post.
Because automation alone isn’t enough to weed out harmful channels, YouTube will implement a review process in a few weeks where a human will verify that channels with qualifying views are consistent with the company’s ad policies. YouTube has learned that it can’t trust flagging bad apples to its community.
YouTube’s troubles began in February when The Times of London reported that ads for major brands were appearing on videos from hate sites. That led to over 250 advertisers—including Walmart, Starbucks, Pepsi, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Dish, Verizon, and AT&T—boycotting the site.
So far, reaction from the industry has been optimistic. “Once the dust settles, these changes should be very positive for original content creators, who are further incentivized to leverage YouTube for their creative endeavors,” says Andrew Marshall, director of product marketing at Cedexis. “More diverse content, in addition to the obvious quality control aspect, will help advertisers target customers more effectively and determine their ad spend ROI. This is a nice first step by YouTube.”
While this is a solid move, weeding out harmful brand environments will take more than one policy change. “It’s reassuring to see that YouTube is taking specific actions toward ensuring brand safety for advertisers,” adds Jayson Dubin, CEO of Playwire. “While setting a viewership threshold is certainly a step in the right direction, this is really an issue of making sure that quality, original content is being monetized appropriately, and in the best interest of both brands and publishers. The root of this challenge goes beyond simple viewership.”