4 Steps to Protecting Your Brand from Extremist Content

Last week, the head of Google for Europe was summoned to the Cabinet Office to explain why ads were being served on sites that publish extremist content. Members of the Cabinet Office don’t go around claiming to be experts in digital marketing, so it makes sense that an explanation was requested.

On the other hand, marketers leading the boycott of YouTube and DoubleClick – such as AT&T, Dominos, Johnson & Johnson, and Verizon,- don’t deserve the same treatment.

If nothing else, the response from advertisers and agencies makes it exceptional clearer that the digital skills gap is wider than estimated. The reason being, no one has come out to point out how easy it is for digital media planners to tweak simple settings in YouTube and DoubleClick to control where ads are served.

This speaks to either an unwillingness to upset large advertisers initiating the boycott for reasons grounded in sanity or for being illiterate in digital tools that offer free training.

For instance, Google’s DoubleClick platform offers advertisers the power to review sites and content for each page before serving an ad.

Does it take the time to do it? Of course, it does.

If the advertisers truly cared about not funding extremism or supporting extremist content, they wouldn’t have hesitated to invest the necessary efforts. There are default categories. Advertisers should employ common sense and a mentality for smart targeting to ensure they untick the categories that don’t match their intended sentiment. All this takes time and effort. But instead of investing in either, it’s so convenient to blame Google.

The safeguards available by DoubleClick and YouTube isn’t rocket science to access nor tweak. The problem is that in the interest of gaining a million impressions, without considering smart targeting or the actual addressable market size, digital marketers are inclined to spray their messages on as many people as possible. This goes against the fundamental value proposition that digital sought to deliver – smart targeting. By spraying the hose instead of aiming it where it matters, dollars are lost and impressions are wasted.

Marketers need to ask their agencies, the one’s supporting the ban, to invest in studying and taking the DoubleClick tutorial exam. In doing so, attendees will learn how to block any extremist content they deem offensive. They will also understand how segmentation and targeting can be overlayed for smarter targeting, perhaps achieve the promised campaigns results for once.

Everything stated above is basic knowledge for AdWords certified marketers.

Still need it spoon fed?

1. Log into your AdWords account
2. Go to the tab titled “Display Network” or “Video Targeting”.
3. Go to the subtab titled “Placements”.
4. Choose “Where Ads are Shown” to see the list of sites, videos, and channels where your ads are appearing. Deselect the sites and channels you don’t want.

Wow, that took a whole two minutes. Now, was the boycott really necessary?

Stop embarrassing yourself and hire a graduate of Google Square.

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Usman Khalid

About the Author Usman Khalid

Usman Khalid is the founder & CEO of Centric DXB. He excels in taking the point of view of both our clients and our internal teams - expressing those perspectives, concerns and requirements to the other side. Aspiring clients & partners can reach him on usman.khalid@centric.ae

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