Years After YouTube-Driven Brand Safety Crisis, Consumer Concerns Remain

A whopping 60% of consumers surveyed by mobile ad tech firm AdColony say they still see content on Facebook that is damaging to brands, and 49% say seeing appropriate advertisements in proximity to harmful content negatively affects their perception of advertisers.

That’s the most provocative finding from a survey that indicates the brand safety issue is far from resolved in the digital advertising ecosystem. Nearly a third of consumers see harmful content on YouTube, whose history of monetizing offensive content sparked increased concerns about brand safety in 2017. YouTube recently came under fire on the issue once more, as advertisers realized the network was being used as a quick way for pedophiles to identify videos of children.

The report, which polled people across the globe ages 16 to 75, also examined how receptive consumers are to advertising across different digital channels. Users of digital services are most comfortable seeing advertising on Facebook (36%) and Google (18.5%), with mobile games (16%) and YouTube (15%) trailing close behind.

While Instagram’s visual focus lends it a strong advantage in the fight to secure advertising dollars, the report suggests that consumers don’t love to see advertisements on that platform. Just 7% are happy to see an ad pop up on the Gram.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018 and compiled the daily newsletter since 2016. Joe is a journalist who has written widely about technology, business, and politics. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.