YouTube’s Programmatic Problem

I used to sell advertising for a business journal in Los Angeles – which explains why I am now back on the editorial side of Journalism, where I much prefer writing. It is hard as hell.

Not only are advertisers trying to convince you that “print is dead and digital is cheap,” they don’t always understand what it means to advertise online. It sounds right, it sounds progressive, it sounds easy. But the next challenge would be understanding just exactly where your ad goes.

YouTube recently announced that the video host is preventing channels on its site that endorse anti-vaccination content from running any sort of advertising – the idea being the demonization will eventually kick them offline.

Several advertisers, such as Nomad Health and XTIVIA, prompted this move as they had already pulled their ads from these channels upon realizing that they were being shown alongside people and products advocating for the anti-vaccination movement at a dire time as a measles outbreak erupts in the U.S.

Although highly popular, programmatic advertising allows only so much control over the placement of an ad. Between the free marketplace of YouTube channels and its ever-evolving algorithms, the social media site will need to find a way to make more room for less controversial content and happier advertisers.