Vevo Shows YouTube Advertisers How It’s Done

(1)As YouTube’s advertising debacle continues, it’s premium division, Vevo, offers a shining example of content vetting and effective audience targeting done right, something which the rest of the video sharing platform could learn from.


Guest post by Chris Castle of Music Technology Policy

If you’ve been following the YouTube advertising debacle, you may have seen reports that YouTube is planning on offering discounts (aka refunds) to the advertising accounts it burned by showing ads on terror, hate and other videos in violation of Google’s promises (aka contracts) with those advertisers.  What kind of videos would those advertising discounts be on, you may ask?

“Premium content”.  Also known as the official music videos.

So why is YouTube having this problem?  Because they forgot the basic rule of advertising–context is everything.  You may be able to target a user based on the goals of your advertising client, but if the video against which your ad is published is simply awful, the context damages the brand.  You know, like brand sponsored piracy that was under such discussion with SOPA, aka the apotheosis of bullshit.

That’s why YouTube promised not to serve ads in those places in the first place.

What’s intriguing about the advertisers’ problems with context on YouTube is that there is one place on YouTube where accounts can get only premium videos.  That’s called Vevo (a joint venture of Sony, Universal, Warner, Abu Dhabi Media…and, oh, yes, Google).

Vevo’s Kevin McGurn (head of sales) posted a reminder about this to advertising accounts.  In a nutshell:

With over 350,000 pieces of content, Vevo makes up less than 0.5% of all videos on YouTube, yet according to data from comScore, 43% of YouTube’s monthly audience is watching Vevo content. With Vevo content, a brand can more effectively target where, when, and what it associates with in reaching an audience on YouTube.  Vevo’s content is not UGC, it’s premium, licensed, and professionally produced, with an enormous and unique global reach. In fact, when we looked at an average video buy on Vevo and YouTube, we saw less than 10% duplication across the audiences reached. 

The content is vetted through multiple layers of quality control to ensure the safest environment possible for advertisers including:

  • Automatic categorization if the word “explicit” is in the title or content tags.
  • Manual categorization if the content includes any of the following:
    • Vulgar language
    • Violence and disturbing imagery
    • Nudity and sexually suggestive content
    • Portrayal of harmful or dangerous activities 

What this categorization process does is give brands greater transparency into where and how their campaigns run, and the ability to customize how they target. With Vevo, a client’s advertising only runs on premium content, and can be targeted specifically to over 55,000 artists in our catalog. Our customers also have the option to exclude explicit content. Overall, we believe our clients are better served in the safer environment that Vevo offers on YouTube and other platforms. This approach allows them to maximize reach and minimize risk as they tap into the enormous audience consuming music videos online.

Or as Charlie Daniels might say, that’s how you do it, son.

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