Opinion: Can YouTube ever be brand safe?


They say that if you ask the wrong question, you are guaranteed to get the wrong answer. Asked as, “Can YouTube ever be brand safe?” the answer is no. There is no possible way to make YouTube, or any environment that relies so heavily on user-generated content (UGC), 100 percent brand safe. Asking “Is YouTube safe for my brand?” is a better question, and it is the proper lens for any serious marketing discussion.

Before we get into what might be possible (assuming the government doesn’t get involved), I want to tell you exactly what is going to happen. Alphabet is a publicly traded, for-profit company. It has only one job: maximize shareholder value. And that is exactly what YouTube’s leadership team will be tasked to do. They will be given the resources needed to make YouTube as profitable as possible. If that happens to include making YouTube brand safe (or brand safer), great! If not, brands will be free to vote with their advertising dollars.

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