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Blogg | Mediavision | Affärsutveckling och strategi för medieindustrin

Sveriges bästa företagsbloggar 2017
2017-12-07

Man vs machine: Youtube, Facebook and the advertiser backlash

In an attempt to combat problems related to the past year’s advertiser boycott, Google stated that it is hiring thousands of new workers to review content on the platform. This came as a direct response to the critique regarding Youtube as an advertiser friendly video service, a debate which recently resurfaced. Several big companies joined the boycott as their ads had been placed next to videos containing inappropriate elements, verified by Youtube’s algorithm.

Youtube started off in 2005 as a video service centered around user generated content (UGC) that anyone could upload, share, and comment on. While this still holds true, the introduction of video ads in 2007 meant content was in a larger need of scrutiny, as the tonality and freedom of the internet often does not correspond to what is considered advertiser friendly. Today, it is evident that Google is making an effort to create a more advertiser friendly video service, something that is negatively affecting business for the “traditional” UGC side of Youtube. This conflict, which is also known as the adpocalypse, has meant a significant decrease in ad revenue, especially for the more “edgy” channels. Advertisers have been given more freedom to choose in what type of context their ads will be placed – thus steering away from content including profanity or sensitive issues. This move is arguably pushing creators to other services, eg Amazon’s Twitch and potentially Facebook Watch. Despite this, Youtube continues to grow as it transitions from UGC to AVOD. Being ranked the 2nd most visited website (after Google) in 2017, its bargaining power as an advertising platform remains strong. On home turf, Mediavision’s latest analysis of the Swedish video market shows Youtube as the country’s most viewed online video service – in all age groups, with an increased preference among young.

A similar controversy has been surrounding video content on Facebook during the past year, with advertisers questioning the robustness of Facebook’s content verification procedures. Facebook has also announced hiring more people for manual review of advertisements, following the Russian involvement in the US presidential election through Facebook ads. Furthermore, with the introduction of video ads in 2014, and mid-roll ads in the beginning of 2017, Facebook began a similar journey to that of Youtube – from UGC to AVOD. However, unlike Youtube, Facebook has not focused primarily on video from the beginning. Thus, Facebook has been able to work with issues regarding content review while the video vertical is still a rather small-scale enterprise compared to that of Youtube. The introduction of Facebook Watch on the US market in August, marks a clear approach to video; ie separating the more free form UGC from the more commercially produced content included under the Watch tab. Facebook Watch is seemingly looking to emulate a more traditional broadcasting approach to its ad business, according to reports from the service’s potential ad buyers.

Since Facebook Watch has yet to spread outside the US, a Nordic comparison with Youtube is not possible. The question remains whether Facebook will be able to challenge Youtube’s position as the dominant AVOD service for advertisers in the Nordics. Yet, focusing on the Nordic markets, Mediavision is following the progression of these services in relation to consumer interest, overall video consumption and market growth.

For more information, contact Sixten Ekström, Communicator at Mediavision.

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