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Google’s YouTube losing major advertisers upset with videos

AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson and other major US companies are pulling their advertisements from Google and Google’s YouTube video portal over issues with the platforms’ brand safety assurances, according to USA Today and a number of other media outlets.

Alphabet Chairman and former Google CEO Chairman Eric Schmidt said the search engine giant can not guarantee that ads will not run alongside offensive content on YouTube and other platforms, during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business today.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal said the ad cuts may expand past YouTube, covering “much of their advertising from Google”.

“We are casting a wide net”, a company spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future”, Verizon said in a press release.

Google last week pledged to more closely monitor advertisements that appear alongside YouTube videos, and give brands more control over where their ads appear.

Following the report, the United Kingdom pulled all government ads from YouTube, and several other advertisers followed suit.

Last week, an investigation by The Times in London newspaper revealed the ads of major brands were appearing in videos delving into contentious themes.

AT&T went a step further, removing its ads from all non-search platforms.

This could deal a heavy blow to Google, which is still an advertising company to a large extent.

J&J joins a growing list of large corporations, including major advertiser AT&T, that have opted to pull advertising from running on the Google-owned media channel. The company must act swiftly to ensure that more advertisers do not pile on, analysts say.

Like AT&T, most companies are only pulling their ads from YouTube and will continue to place ads on Google’s search platforms, which remain the biggest source of revenue for Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

A representative for Google declined to comment on individual customers. Add to it the amount spent by Verizon and we are pushing billions. In 2016, the firm generated $80bn in ad revenue – accounting for nearly 90% of the firm’s total income for the year. If more advertisers – and especially US -based advertisers – continue to put a freeze on Google spending, however, those prospects could be damaged, perhaps considerably. We’ll introduce new account-level controls to make it easier for advertisers to exclude specific sites and channels from all of their AdWords for Video and Google Display Network campaigns, and manage brand safety settings across all their campaigns with a push of a button.

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