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Brands still concerned about YouTube and Facebook, says top media buyer

By | Published on Monday 26 June 2017

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The likes of YouTube and Facebook could lose hundreds of millions in ad revenue in the next year because of ongoing concerns about adverts appearing alongside dubious or offensive content, according to media-buying giant GroupM.

The ad industry group, part of Martin Sorrell’s WPP, is still predicting total UK advertising spend on social media, search engines and user-upload sites to grow by 11% to nearly £10.5 billion this year. However, that’s a reduction on GroupM’s previous growth forecast of 15%. If the ad agency’s predictions are right, that will be lowest growth rate for internet advertising in the UK since 2011.

As previously reported, a number of ad agencies and big brands pulled or reduced their advertising on some social and user-upload platforms earlier this year in the wake of reports that ads were appearing alongside racist and extremist content, or blatant fake news. This wasn’t a particularly new phenomenon, but became a bigger talking point thanks to an investigation in The Times and resulting media coverage elsewhere.

The Guardian quotes Adam Smith from GroupM as saying: “Effectively, since March we have seen a surprisingly general effect of clients either stopping spend altogether, or pausing spend in this area. It has been widespread [and has] been much more persistent in that, if you thought it was something that was a seven-day wonder, it isn’t. There is still a substantial number of advertisers yet to return to their prior weight of ad investment”.

From a music business perspective, you can take a positive or negative view of this trend. Record companies and music publishers are already unhappy with the levels of advertising YouTube sells, they being cut into that ad revenue when their music is used. And the industry’s hopes of striking up licensing deals with Facebook around the music used in videos uploaded to its platform depend on the social network selling more ads around that content.

Though, on the flipside, continued nervousness about where YouTube and Facebook’s automated systems might place a brand’s ads – despite the tech firms insisting they are putting better controls in place – could skew in the favour of those online video operations that only carry videos uploaded by legit content companies, rather than any random person. Which includes the music industry’s Vevo and the official channels on the about-to-relaunch YouTube competitor Dailymotion.

As previously reported, Vevo pointed this out to possible advertisers back in April. Though with big brands still seemingly worried about where their ads might end up on Facebook and YouTube, it seems like there might be further opportunities for the Sony/Universal-owned music video platform to push out more messages of that kind. Especially as it is able to service ads to YouTube that are guaranteed to sit alongside official label content only.



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