The UK Government Aren't Happy With Google

Google have found themselves in a spot of trouble. According to an article published in The Times, British taxpayer’s money could be funding extremists through Google’s online advertising tools.


Much to their dismay, huge brands like channel 4, BBC, Argos, Honda, Sainsburys, The Guardian and more have all been advertised alongside highly inappropriate content online. It appears that rape apologists, anti-semites, hate preachers, homophobics and extremists are among the many organisations receiving payouts from publicly subsidised adverts.


So how has this happened?


AdWords for video enables brands to display their video ads in the YouTube search results or before, during, and after videos on YouTube and the Google Display Network. A Youtube poster typically earns $7.60 for every 1000 views of the advert and, while advertisers can target their ads to a certain extent, Google is being criticised for not actively searching for hate videos and other inappropriate content despite the company’s huge profits and resources. Currently, Google simply relies on its users to report suspicious content. However, this issue demands the question: shouldn’t Google be responsible for making sure adverts do not appear alongside inappropriate content?

Last night, the government suspended Youtube advertising and Google has been summoned to the Cabinet Office to explain how it plans to deliver the high-quality service the UK taxpayer expects. As Phil Smith, director-general of ISBA, commented on the matter, it’s clear that “more needs to be done urgently to safeguard the reputations of responsible advertisers on digital platforms”.

It comes as no surprise that brands are increasingly concerned about automated tools used to serve their adverts online, and how these might put them at risk. Although Google will certainly be under more pressure to make changes to policies and tighten up brand controls, what can we – as the advertisers – do to ensure we have control over where our content appears online?


1. Target the right Demographic

Unlike this news story suggests, you actually have much more control over who sees your advertisement with Adwords for video. You can use demographic targeting to more efficiently target the correct demographic, in order to avoid being placed alongside content that’s not relevant to your target user.


2. Carefully target your audience

Adwords offers you a range of audience categories to help you reach people interested in certain topics (which we would hope don’t include any extremism!) With Custom Affinity Audiences, you can create audiences that are tailored to your brand, rather than broadly. Likewise, In-Market Audience targeting allows you to focus on those people already researching products and actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer.


3.  Be ultra-specific with keywords

This is critical when it comes to presenting your ad to the right audience. Be really specific with your keywords and constantly test and remove those that are gaining you the wrong kind of visibility and traffic.


4. Target specific placements

With Adwords for video, you can be really specific about where you want your ad to appear, be it unique channels, videos, apps, specific websites or placements within websites.


5. Monitor, analyse and review

As one Google spokeswoman admitted to The Times, Google doesn’t alway get it right. Google is pretty damn clever but you should never rely on Google alone. That’s where Digital Marketing agencies like us come in. We can monitor, analyse and review where your ads are appearing online to not only ensure you know where your ads are being displayed and who to, but ensure they are the most effective they can be.


AdWords for video is still a largely untapped yet highly effective resource, so you’ll often find less competition and much cheaper keyword costs. If you need help running and monitoring your Adwords campaigns, speak to one of our digital marketing experts today.