YouTube says it is “committed to remaining at least 99% effective at ensuring brand safety of advertising placements” after becoming the first digital platform to receive accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC).
The council certified YouTube against its “Enhanced Content Level Context and Brand Safety Guidelines,” which were introduced in 2018.
To ensure YouTube deserves accreditation, the MRC conducted what YouTube says was an “extensive audit that reviewed the policies that determine which videos can be on YouTube and which are eligible to monetize with advertising, the technology that analyzes the videos uploaded to the platform, and our team of human raters that augment our technology’s automated classifications.”
The audit covered YouTube ads sold through Google Ads as well as YouTube’s Display, Video 360, and YouTube Reserve ads.
These include your typical pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads, but notably do not include masthead ads, ads shown during livestreams, or ads shown on YouTube Kids content.
In a statement, George W. Ivie, MRC’s executive director and CEO, said YouTube’s “ongoing commitment [to brand safety] presents a much needed path for other digital platforms and the rest of the industry to follow.”
“Receiving this accreditation builds upon our commitment to protecting advertisers,” Debbie Weinstein, YouTube’s vice president of video global solutions, added in an official blog post. “Whatever challenges lie ahead, we will remain humble and alert, enabling us to be the best possible partner to advertisers while continuing to support a responsible ecosystem.”
YouTube has a history of brand safety issues, namely advertisements running alongside disturbing content targeted at and/or involving young kids. It’s seen two major “Adpocalypse” marketer boycotts–one in 2017, as a result of Elsagate, and one in 2019, after YouTuber Matt Watson exposed a “wormhole” of videos fetishizing children. Both of those boycotts resulted in YouTube implementing stricter policies around video moderation and advertisements.