Last December, a consortium lead by internet giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube announced it would cooperate on a plan to help limit the spread of terrorist content online. None of the organizations made a commitment, at this time, to remove these videos.

So, it should have come as no surprise to advertisers when, three months later, they learned that their ads may have appeared next to videos filled with hate speech or those that directly funded terrorist organizations on YouTube.

What advertisers may not realize is that the problem they are facing is bigger than brand safety. Rather, the explosion of user-generated content and the growth of audience-based targeting have all but completely eroded context from the advertising buy. Advertising aligned with terrorist propaganda on YouTube is an artifact of this trend.

How did we get to this point? The ad industry as it stands is a duopoly, with Google and Facebook racking up over $50 billion in ad revenue in 2016 out of $72 billion in total. It is estimated that YouTube’s piece of that pie is annually around $10 billion, 15% of the total industry. Read the full article here.

The appeal of YouTube to advertisers is its huge audience and seeming unlimited pre-roll inventory. But, combining scale and automation with inventory diversity is not without its challenges, as we’ve seen. If you have scale and inventory, but lack context, you’re significantly decreasing purchase intent and branding.

Two years ago, at an industry conference, Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia said of contextual advertising that “if content is king, context is god.” He then urged advertisers to “respect the room you’re storytelling in.” The problem with automation is that most advertisers don’t know the room in which they’re telling their story.

So, what’s a brand to do? – Read the full article here.