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Omnicom to sift through YouTube videos to ensure safety for brands


By Seb Joseph, News editor

April 1, 2017 | 3 min read

Omnicom is introducing a brand safety drive that could calm those advertisers worried their ads are at risk of being misplaced against inappropriate content on YouTube.

Youtube brand safety

Omnicom to sift through YouTube videos to ensure safety for brands.

The holding group will sift through hundreds of thousands of YouTube videos daily to ensure they are safe for its advertisers to appear against, reports Advertising Age. Omnicom will employ a mix of machines and people to conduct the checks and consequently score the posts for brand safety before adding the appropriate ones to a whitelist.

"Scores will be determined by utilizing AI and will be built upon public and non-public meta data that had previously been unavailable to advertisers, Omnicom said in an e-mailed statement to Advertising Age.

The holding group has reportedly said it will also make more data available to advertisers regarding videos on the Google-owned video site.

Omnicom handles the budgets for some of the world's biggest advertisers including McDonald's, Volkswagen and Procter & Gamble.

The move comes as GroupM embarks on a similar brand safety drive with video adtech firm Open Slate, which will see the two work together to whitelist YouTube channels for advertisers. Open Slate rates hundreds of millions of videos and channels to come up with a pruned pool of 850,000 channels that advertisers should consider.

YouTube is at the center of an industry-wide debate on brand safety, which has targeted the Google-owned platform for not doing enough to tackle the issue. Brands including Warner Bros, British Gas and EE have pulled spend following an investigation by The Times, while Omnicom rival Havas has vowed not to invest its advertisers budgets on the channel for as long as the issue persists. Last week, Interpublic Group’s boss Michael Roth warned that it would follow Havas if it did not think Google had done enough to purge brand safety from the channel, though declined to set a deadline.

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