By now you’ve most likely heard companies are boycotting YouTube and pulling their advertisements. What is going on with the boycott? Should your business join and pull your YouTube advertising?

Here is what you need to know about the situation to make sure your business’s marketing scheme and use of social media remain a success.


Since it’s creation, YouTube has only grown in popularity. YouTube easily became the champion of any and all video content. Regardless of how offensive or graphic, a federal law shields the platform from being liable for posted content. This made the platform desirable to everyone.

This resulted in an insane popularity. In fact, every minute there are 400 hours of video uploaded to the platform. And if that weren’t enough to prove the site’s popularity, one billion hours of content is watched on a daily basis.

Thanks to all this, Youtube’s revenue for last year was approximately $11 billion.

The Boycott

The boycott began with a report from the British daily The Times of London. The report noted that advertisements were being played with all video content. This included content that centered around hateful themes.

The report had a ripple effect that started in Europe and exploded into the United States. Pretty soon, the boycott had company after company pulling their YouTube advertising campaigns.

Companies started to demand better security for their brands. They wanted their brand’s image to remain under the company’s control and out of certain realms of controversy.

Some analysts have said that the boycott could end up costing Google up to $750 million in revenue. But others have declared that the portion of Google’s business that was affected only makes up less than 20% of the company’s revenues.

How Could YouTube Let This Happen?

The thing is, Google, who owns YouTube, is not held accountable in the same ways that traditional media is. Actually, Google does not allow third-party content verification on their platforms, at all.

And, since YouTube has been claiming to be a kind of television network in order to get more budgets, there has been a big misunderstanding. YouTube does not, and will not, offer the same guarantees of traditional media.

The platform is designed to be a place where everyone and anyone can express themselves as they see fit.

So, of course, there was no perfect fix for the problem companies were worried about.

Google runs on an algorithm, placing advertisements accordingly. So only a few options remain if companies chose to continue boycotting, and none of them had a very good outlook…

One idea is to keep things as they are and let the companies pull their advertisements. But the very mentioning of this option describes how it has a bad outlook.

If companies continued to pull their advertisements YouTube will be losing money, and no business wants to lose money.

Another idea is to restrict advertisements to videos that are on channels containing long histories of good behavior and plenty of subscribers. This, in theory, would weed out the videos of hateful speech, scammers, and terrorism.

But, this option is not good for creators. Many top creators make money off of the advertisements that are put on their videos even though they don’t have too many subscribers or have a long history.

The Solution Google Chose

Google decided to go with solution number three. The company made (and is still making) small changes to their policies to help ensure the security of each brand’s image.

Now, videos are being classified under categories that companies can then choose to opt-out of. By choosing to opt-out of a category, thereby limiting the chance the company’s advertisement will be shown with anything unwanted.

However, it should be noted that how videos get into each classification is unclear, especially to the creators.

What Happens Now?

 All in all, it is unlikely that companies will continue to give up their advertising space on YouTube, especially since almost one billion hours of video is watched every day on the platform.

Plus, more and more companies are getting back on board thanks to the new classification system. Classifications include “tragedy and conflict,” “sensitive social issues,” and even “profanity and rough language.”

To Keep or Pull Your YouTube Advertising?

Honestly, the decision is yours to make. But keeping your advertisements is probably a good idea if you’re a smaller business or you find you rely on them.

Want to support the cause but still not entirely sure what to do? Try pulling a smaller percentile of your advertisements before going all in. After a few days, look at your earnings and reassess the situation.

If there was little or no change in sales, try pulling back a bit more if you want. Just don’t feel obligated to, even if you support the initial reasoning.

Another way to go about it is to make use of the new classifications. Choose which videos you want your brand to stay away from and YouTube will make sure it happens! Your advertisements will not be on or with any content that is in the categories you select.

So you can go ahead and put your mind at ease. Plus, viewers tend to understand that YouTube advertisements aren’t associated with the content they’re about to view, kind of like how commercials aren’t associated with the shows currently playing on television.


It’s important to note that online advertising misplacement is not new. All you need to do is look up “funny ad misplacements” and you’ll see what I mean.

So why is it such a huge deal now? Well, partially because of the current volatile political landscape. But publishers have also realized that making this a “scandal” makes them more money.

Overall, don’t stress too much about your YouTube advertising. Focus more on your marketing analytics and tactics, helping to ensure your business is successful.

But, if you’re still concerned, just use the new classification options to indicate the videos you don’t want your advertisements on.

Is there anything about YouTube advertising and the boycott that we didn’t get to? Let us know, we’re more than happy to help!