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Google announces strategy to address concerns of ad misplacement and brand safety

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By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

March 20, 2017 | 4 min read

Google has announced a three-pronged approach to addressing the problem of ad misplacement and brand safety by promising advertisers it will place more of an emphasis on policies, controls and enforcement.

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Many of the world's biggest brands have pulled advertising from Google amid the hate-funding row

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe, Google’s president of business and operations for EMEA, Matt Brittin, discussed how the company would attempt to solve advertisers concerns that their ads had been running alongside inappropriate video content.

Brittin revealed that the first part of the strategy will focus on improving policies regarding what is deemed to be “safe” for advertisers by refining definitions of hate speech or inflammatory content. The second part of the plan aims to improve the controls that advertisers have to implement brand safety issues and the final promise states that Google will work faster in enforcing existing rules regarding takedowns of content.

The announcement follows on from a wave of the world’s largest brands, including HSBC, the Guardian and L’Oréal, pulling advertising from Google in light of a Times investigation which revealed that they had been inadvertently funding hate speech videos on YouTube.

In response to the recent news equity advisor firm, Pivotal Research Group, downgraded Alphabet from buy to hold and maintains that the recently announced strategy is not enough

“We’re not confident that this approach will be sufficient to remedy advertiser concerns,” a statement from the group said.

“The approach comes across to us as attempting to minimize the problem rather than eliminating it, which is the standard we think that many large brand advertisers expect.

“We think that Google will probably need to articulate goals that sound more like a zero tolerance policy, to alleviate concerns before it can fully recover.

Interpublic Group’s (IPG) chief executive Michael Roth recently stated that it would give Google a chance to turn things around, but would join the wave of brands leaving if it fails to act quickly.

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