Despite swift attempts to rectify issues, Google and YouTube in particular, has had a bad run of industry headlines.
Fake traffic forced Google to issue refunds to advertisers and a Google hijack made Japan 'land of no internet' for more than 30 minutes. Earlier, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS halted advertising on Google amid a larger hate-funding row., leading some brands to become wary of the platform.
To find out how this problem can be tackled by a third party, The Drum spoke with Nishant Radia, chief marketing officer and co-founder Vidooly, a video marketing and analytics software for brands, multi-channel networks and creators.
The company is now using its technology to find ways to make the platform it bases a lot of its business on, a safe bet for its clients again.
He says: "YouTube is awesome but with tons of content, it becomes chaotic. Our aim is to help brands advertise on the best content which is relevant to their target group, at scale, while making sure it fits the brand safety guidelines. The major problems in the advertising market out there is the general non-brand safe video content online: adult, pornographic and explicit violence. There is inappropriate targeting, controversial subjects , identification of un-moderated user generated content and no brand-safe algorithm is correct."
Vidooly launched a "Brand Safety" tool for advertisers, brands and agencies globally, whereby a brand's ads are not displayed over, or associated with, content that violates the brand guidelines or brand philosophy.
Radia says: "At Vidooly, the brand safety tracking mechanism is divided into three categories and multiple filters, such as meta tags, keywords, title and description . As a brand you can omit any YouTube channel or video from your campaign which has a certain set of keywords used in the meta or title/description.
Next is speech-to-text algorithm, where the proprietary speech-to-text algorithm analyzes the audio content of all the videos and identifies any video that has content that isn’t brand safe.
Lastly, visual analysis where we also scan the video frames to identify violence, accidents, guns and a lot more to add the extra layer of brand safety."
There has been an increase in ad spend in India, with digital ad spend set to tip over the $1bn mark next year, while still only accounting for a quarter of the whole media market, according to eMarketer.
However, as far as brand safety is concerned in the Indian market, it is very much a neglected phenomenon. Not many are aware of the importance of brand safety and, therefore, more education is needed.
As to what are the challenges brands face here, Radia says: "India is a growing market and with multiple video platforms coming in, there is an explosion in the content which is going out on these platforms. Brand safety is gaining more and more momentum because the video eco-system in India is scattered. Brands who are advertising on multiple platforms need to be extra-cautious to reinforce their brand safety guidelines across these platforms"
YouTube already says that AI is better than humans at removing extremist videos post-brand safety crisis. As to how AI can solve the problem of brand safety, Radia says: "Brand safety is important but it's more important to do it at scale. Every media campaign has a budget that’s supposed to be exhausted in a given time-frame. At Vidooly, we are building AI-based predictive models that can foresee whether the brand safe channels and videos, on which the campaign is being run, can deliver on the viewership or not. This makes life so much easier for a planner as they cut down the risk of not reaching the goals in terms of viewership in a definite time-frame."
Vidooly has already received $1.4m funding from venture capital firm GVFL (Gujarat Venture Finance Limited) and Times Internet. The Drum earlier spoke with Gulshan Verma, chief revenue officer at Times Internet who said that advertising will follow India's shift to digital.
As to how is Vidooly using the funding, Radia says: "We plan to utilise the funding towards strengthening our product engineering, marketing, sales and distribution channels. We are actively hiring too, especially data scientists and sales staff, as we are looking to aggressively expand our reach and tap new customers.
We are also looking to further expand into the domestic market and reinforce our presence in the international markets of US, Europe and Asia."