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BizReport : Advertising archives : July 11, 2014

Ads for businesses, charities found alongside extremist YouTube videos

A new case of advertising placed in inappropriate environments has come to light following the findings of a BBC Newsnight investigation. Ads on YouTube for UK charities, businesses, the BBC and National Citizen Service were found to be appearing against Jihadi and extremist videos.

by Helen Leggatt

Are your ads appearing on inappropriate websites that could harm your brand's reputation? Do you even know?

According to research by Project Sunblock late last year, 7.78 billion display ad impressions are served up on websites that could damage a brand's reputation including pornographic sites, sites that promote terrorism, illegal drugs, malware, celebrity scandals, natural disasters and violence.

Ads for banks have been spotted on pornographic websites, and ads for broadband providers on peer-to-peer websites promoting illegal downloads.

Furthermore, 38% of UK advertisers don't know where their content is being displayed online and almost two-thirds (62%) of senior marketers have no access to real-time analytics.

The result? £2.4 billion (US$3.9 billion) is being spent each year on display ads that could appear anywhere online.

The latest ad misplacement error was discovered following an investigation by the BBC programme Newsnight. It found that ads for businesses, the BBC, the National Citizen service and even UK charities were being shown next to extremist videos. Worse still, due to YouTube's revenue sharing, those ads were generating income for the providers of the extremist content.

According to Andrew Goode, COO of Project Sunblock, it is instances like these that are causing advertisers to rethink their digital ad strategies.

"This story is further evidence of the alarming lack of transparency that exists within the online advertising world. Whether video, mobile of desktop, the advertising industry is having the wool pulled over its eyes because of a lack of knowledge and insight into where ads appear once they are paid for," says Goode.

"In this case it's important to remember that it's not only the responsibility of YouTube to ensure that ads don't appear before extremist videos, it's also the advertisers themselves who need to regulate where their content appears."

scyther5 /

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ad placement, advertising, digital, marketing, UK

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