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Google's current scandal may serve to take the heat off, for a little bit.
Ryan Kangisser, founder of ad tech consultancy Stack I/O, said: "As far as agencies are concerned, I think this recent storm has helped to shift attention away from the ongoing transparency and brand safety concerns — related to their own programmatic offerings — and allowed them to reinstate their position as gatekeepers by holding Google much closer to account.
Google's Brittin said on Monday that the company is talking about "pennies not pounds" — a view shared by most of the executives we spoke to, who thought the percentage of ads appearing next to extremist videos is likely negligible.
The following questions came up often in our conversations with advertising executives: Had The Times not conducted its investigation, would any of the brands have noticed any negative impact?
Google "funny ad misplacements" and you'll find a plethora of examples, like the now legendary case of an insurance brand's ad featuring a duck glaring from the screen, situated on an article titled: "Anatidaephobia — The Fear That You Are Being Watched By A Duck" So why the sudden fuss now?
It's not even as though the association between Google funding terrorist sympathizers with its ad systems is anything new.
But even that kind of action has revealed a lack of education in clients.The marketer, who wished to remain anonymous, believed no amount of staffing up would offer a foolproof guarantee to prevent such an incident from taking place again — but a switch in strategy to review content first before serving ads against it would help. They used to smash everyone for years and now people are enjoying their bad streak [of performance]." The reason so many UK advertisers, specifically, decided to lay into Google this week may also have a little something to do with being British, according to another UK ad agency veteran: "It's a very British thing: We like underdogs, we don't like it when people succeed.That's a view shared by UK advertiser body ISBA, which suggested Google should place recently uploaded content in a kind of quarantine until it could guarantee brands were safe to advertise against it. When people get on top, we want to kick them down." Nonetheless, most of the executives we spoke to were surprised at the sheer amount of volume placed in Google's direction over this ad misplacement issue, given the small amount of ad dollars that were likely affected.Google did say on Tuesday, however, that it is employing more people, deploying more technology, and updating its policies to help review questionable content for advertising. One marketer at a brand that unwittingly found one of its ads next to a hate speech video on You Tube told Business Insider he took issue with Google's stance to monetize first, moderate later.Other publishers, such as news publications, can insert tags into their articles — to make sure brand ads don't appear next to news stories about bomb attacks, for example. And it threatens advertising-buying agencies who fear their clients could simply go to Google direct and cut out the middle-man. One UK advertising executive who also spoke to Business Insider on a condition of anonymity, said: "Nobody wants to take on the bully in the playground, but once one person does, everyone can pile in ... Who likes Manchester United and doesn't support them?