Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Ad Buyers Shrug at YouTube’s Child Exploitation Crisis

Shareen Pathak And Jack Marshall, Digiday:

As a number of major brands, including Disney, Nestle, McDonald’s, AT&T and Epic Games, are pulling their ads from YouTube due to its latest brand-safety “crisis,” media buyers are largely reacting with a collective shrug.

In a poll conducted by Digiday Research on Thursday, Feb. 21, only 14 percent of 100 buyers said they expect the crisis to have any impact on long-term spending on the platform. Nearly a third of buyers said they expect any cutbacks they make to be temporary. Meanwhile, 37 percent of respondents said the crisis would not impact their advertising plans for the platform.

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But for agency buyers, gathered in Nashville this week for the Digiday Media Buying Summit, this is just the latest in a long line of supposed brand-safety crises that won’t really amount to much other than a temporary pause. “It’ll never happen [that this hurts anyone]. YouTube is such a brand-unsafe environment. But it works. They give you the views, they give you the conversions,” said one C-level exec at a major agency.

This will remain a problem as long as advertising is served programmatically on under-moderated monopolistic platforms, or as long as ad buyers don’t take it seriously.