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Brand Safety: Don’t Just Take YouTube’s Word for It—Verify It

YouTube may have weathered its brand safety crisis (the so-called adpocalypse has been downgraded to less than a tropical storm), but that doesn’t mean advertisers can take the issue for granted. While YouTube is paying more attention to the subject, brands that want to avoid embarrassing ad placement issues will do their own verification.

That’s why social video data company OpenSlate [1] has launched a YouTube verification service. This is the first independent third-party YouTube auditing solution, the company says, and it’s already being used by major agency partners GroupM, Horizon Media, Dentsu Aegis Network, Magna, Publicis Media, and Omnicom.

The solution works with both Google Preferred inventory and YouTube’s auction-based media. Customers are able to create their own standards for what content they consider brand safe, since there’s no one definition that covers every need.

OpenSlate’s solution draws on proprietary data for over 350 million ad-supported videos on YouTube. Some videos are simply rated as unsafe for any campaign, while others could be suitable or unsuitable depending on the brand’s standards.

“We at Omnicom Media Group strongly believe that brand safety must be an area of constant focus to ensure our clients’ brands are aligned with desirable content in a rapidly evolving video marketplace,” says Jon Anselmo, chief digital officer and president of Omnicom Media Group. “It is imperative that we continue to innovate in this area and we support efforts such as OpenSlate’s to further add transparency and accountability across social video.”

The YouTube auditing service is available now to OpenSlate’s’s U.S. enterprise customers. The company will expand it to all countries in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Our tools are about bringing more transparency” to the online video ad space, said Mike Henry, OpenSlate’s chief executive officer, quoted in the Wall Street Journal [2]. The paper reported OpenSlate has audited 152 YouTube campaigns for 65 brands since March, and plans to audit over 250 campaigns in the fourth quarter.