IAB: Small Businesses Are Driving Competition In Digital Advertising

Accessible tools, low prices and in-house creative options are leading millions of small businesses to invest into digital advertising this year, competing with national brands for viewability in search and social channels. According to the IAB’s latest bi-annual advertising revenue report, small business marketing efforts are in a large part responsible for the continued growth of advertising marketplace.

On Wednesday, AListDaily sat in on a livestream presentation of the findings from the IAB’s biannual advertising revenue study, which stated that over half of the companies on 2016’s Fortune 500 list are posting declining revenues, and yet, total digital advertising revenue continues to rise.

Advertising spend in general grew by 2.8 percent in the last year, yet for companies making over $250 million per year, that number was just 1.2 percent. To account for this counter-intuitive data, the IAB-commissioned Borrell Associates found that easily accessible marketing tools on platforms like Google and Facebook drew almost seven million small businesses to buy digital ads in the last year.

“There is a large (and growing) cohort of small- and medium-sized businesses who are engaged in digital advertising,” read Borrell’s report that was made available to AListDaily. “Their budgets are, of necessity, smaller—but their numbers are significant such that there is reason to believe they are, en masse, injecting significant dollar volume into the digital advertising ecosystem.”

What’s notable about this cohort isn’t just its size (6.8 million) but its saturation: 75 percent of businesses earning less than $50 million per year spend on digital advertising, and 63 percent of those expect to increase their spending in 2018.

Part of digital advertising’s appeal to small businesses comes from its budget-friendliness. Social media is the most popular and effective form of small-business marketing but accounts for just 4 percent of their marketing budgets.

“Local advertisers are going online to do their own buying,” the report reads. “Nearly two-thirds are inexperienced at marketing, and 70 percent of those amateurs make decisions without anyone’s assistance.”

The prevalence of inexperience makes social media’s accessibility and do-it-yourself options especially attractive to small businesses. In fact, four-in-five small businesses buy advertising on self-service platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This represents a potential for marketing service providers, as self-starters who may not be willing to spend on full small business marketing campaigns will benefit from the know-how of established professionals.

“Misfires and frustrations are likely to spur a stronger demand for marketing education and a greater level of consultation from marketing-savvy ad reps,” Borrell writes.

For the current growth to continue, small businesses might be the industry’s best bet.

“Better understanding this cohort will allow for all participants in the digital advertising ecosystem to tap into the opportunity they represent, as well as increase the value of digital advertising for this important constituency,” the report declared.

The Weakest Link In Blockchain Is Still Human Nature

Blockchain technology is disrupting the way data is stored and verified. While blockchain is more secure by design, humans are prone to mistakes and corruption.

What Is Blockchain?

While the technology of blockchain gets rather complicated, the basic idea is simple—one network that accurately tracks data from point A to point B and prevents tampering.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger that is shared among users rather than stored in one location such as a server. Everyone in the chain of information has a copy of the same information—updating with each new entry.

The blockchain is made up of a series of blocks containing encrypted data, along with a unique identifying number called a hash that corresponds to the entries before and after. This creates a ledger that keeps everything in its place and cannot be changed—at least not easily.

As data is recorded, it creates a new block with a new hash and adds it to the sequence—hence the name “blockchain.” Because it’s a distributed ledger, everyone gets the latest information at the same time. If the information doesn’t match—i.e. tampered with, it is rejected. Users no longer have one place to hack. This creates a transparent system of verification with an endless amount of uses.

Practical Applications

Imagine if you could trace your coffee beans all the way back to where they were grown. Blockchain would allow you to verify its origins and whether or not they are free trade. Donations to a charity could be tracked to make sure they reach the intended recipients and citizens could see exactly how their tax dollars are spent.

This new technology is already disrupting a number of industries, beginning with finances. First prototyped in 1991, blockchain is the distributed ledger that underlies Bitcoin. The technology cuts out the third party such as a bank, allowing users to transfer and verify the transfer of currency from one account to another.

For marketers, blockchain could solve the problem of programmatic advertising fraud. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is currently investigating the application of this technology to address challenges, as well as develop best practices.

Technology Versus Humans

Blockchain technology is important because it could solve the age-old problem of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.” But despite its built-in transparency and encryption, data is still entered by human beings—who are not perfect.

Whether through innocent error or intentional deceit, blockchain data is only as accurate as those creating the blocks.

Famous hacker Kevin Mitnick often used “social engineering”—the manipulation of people, not computers, to obtain passwords and other key information.

“Companies spend millions of dollars on firewalls, encryption and secure access devices, and it’s money wasted because none of these measures address the weakest link in the security chain—the people who use, administer, operate and account for computer systems that contain protected information,” Mitnick said in his court testimony.

While a traditional hack of distributed ledger technology is inherently difficult, there is something called a ‘51 percent attack.’ That means when more than half of a blockchain network of computers supplies incorrect information, the rest of the system believes it to be true.

Blockchain is a powerful technology, but the market has yet to fully invest in exploring its potential. There’s still plenty of blank space in the blockchain landscape, and major players will likely need concrete proof that it’s worth the risk before they fill in the gaps.

Unicode’s New Inclusive Emojis Met With Mixed Feedback

The Unicode Consortium is furthering efforts to make its emojis more inclusive, expanding its emoji catalog to offer more diversity for hair colors and styles. Finally, people with red, white, curly or no hair will be able to see themselves in icon format.

Several of the additions, such as representation for redheads, have been in demand for more than a year. Curly or natural hair on emojis has been so hotly demanded that Dove released an emoji keyboard just for curly-haired women.

With emoji-based marketing generally considered to make brand messaging more fun—especially among women and those ages 25-to-44—this added diversity can only give brands more options for producing more inclusive content.

But Unicode is already taking flak on Twitter for its female curly-haired emoji, with some claiming that the hairstyle does not accurately reflect natural hair. According to Unicode, the look is based on the real hair of lifestyle YouTuber Ciara Anderson, but the emoji curls have many still feeling left out.

The new emojis are now available in beta, which means that the community backlash may result in a total redesign before the batch is released in Q2 of 2018.

The rest of the 130-emoji collection has been less controversial, with new additions like a fire extinguisher, stick of dynamite and frowning feces failing to spark any heated discussion. In the document discussing the added emojis, Unicode explicitly omitted non-natural features such as dyed hair, piercings and tattoos, which may well be the subject of the next inclusivity push for the image icons.

This year has seen many marketers pushing to better represent the diversity in the communities they serve, and the latest emoji update marks at least another small step in that direction.

The 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit And D.I.C.E. Awards Come To Las Vegas In February

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit (#DICE18) and D.I.C.E. Awards (#DICEAwards) will take place February 20-22, 2018 in Las Vegas. Leading video game executives and creators will gather to participate in the premier industry networking event and listen to key speakers address the conference theme – Made Better – tackling some of the industry’s biggest ideas and trends.

INDUSTRY SPEAKERS & THEME

Main stage presentations of all kinds —solo presentations, fireside chats or panels are available for the entire attendee base.  With the conference theme Made Better, speakers this year will examine the full spectrum of what drives the creative development process within the interactive entertainment community.  What are the measures of success, and how do we design towards them?  How do we evolve and balance innovation risk?  How do we inspire individuals and teams to drive change?  D.I.C.E. speakers will share personal insights and experiences on how they foster creativity and prosperity within the video game industry today and beyond.

WORKSHOPS

Workshops are smaller, breakout sessions geared towards a greater level of audience interaction and sharing. Panels and discussions engage with an audience of approximately 50 people and emphasizes joint exploration of ideas and concepts relevant to the industry and workplace.

ROUNDTABLES

Roundtables compose of intimate idea sharing with groups of approximately 10 to a table. A roundtable leader will present a compelling topic which will be explored from the varied perspectives of table participants. This is an excellent networking opportunity paired with premier idea sharing. There will be three different roundtable rooms, each focused on a specific theme: Business Leadership, Creative Development and Media Topics.

NETWORKING & EVENTS

Unmatched networking opportunities are a hallmark of the D.I.C.E. Summit experience. This year’s networking events include Topgolf Las Vegas, Magic: The Gathering, go-karting, a golf tournament and a poker tournament on the first day, networking parties, lunches and happy hours.

2018 D.I.C.E. AWARDS

On the final day, the conference will culminate with the 21st D.I.C.E. Awards co-hosted by Greg Miller and Jessica Chobot, honoring the best video games from 2017. The D.I.C.E. Awards serve to recognize excellence among peers currently working in games.

Don’t miss out on the 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit and Awards! AListDaily members receive a 20% discount to the conference and event.  Please reach out to mguice@alistdaily.com to get your code for registration.

The Net Neutrality Repeal Sucks For Marketers, Too

The FCC’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules has not been particularly popular, to say the least. In the face of overwhelming public backlash, internet service providers will be able to throttle, block and speed internet traffic according to their whims, which is a problem for marketers, not just citizens.

“Brands will suffer from all sides,” Eric Burgess, vice president of product management at Ayzenberg,” said to AListDaily. “Destroying net neutrality will drive down consumption in general, since it will cost more, naturally allowing for fewer opportunities to reach consumers.”

Editor’s note: AListDaily is the publishing arm of the Ayzenberg Group.

Because ISPs, despite claims to the contrary, can, have and likely will give preferential treatment to network traffic to publishers whom they like, and limit traffic to those they don’t, many websites may be forced to shell out to ensure their content is actually accessible to their audience. This added expense will likely roll downhill to either consumers or advertisers.

This takes control of ad viewability even more out of the hands of ad buyers. Studies by Google indicate that 40 percent of consumers close mobile webpages if they take longer than three seconds to load, meaning that brands may well lose out on ad views from impatient consumers.

In addition to costing marketers more now, the repeal of net neutrality has far-reaching implications for marketing channels in the future.

Despite FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s claims that net neutrality rules stifle innovation, there’s little proof that giving ISPs monopoly control over broadband traffic will lead to advances in online services.

Marketers still have time to prepare, however. Even though the FCC has passed its resolution, it will still take several months for the changes to be codified and enacted. In the meantime, groups of both lawmakers and lawyers have declared their intention to fight the ruling, both in court and in Congress.

Though nothing has officially changed just yet, marketers may need to start allocating some of their 2018 budgets to currying favor among ISPs if they want to ensure their messaging is actually visible to consumers.

Ad And Apps Spending To Separately Grow in 2018—But So Will Fraud

CMOs Mobilize On Mobile

New research by App Annie suggests that consumer spending on mobile apps will increase by 30 percent over the next year, reaching $110 billion in total for 2018. This growth is driven by increased mobile penetration in markets such as China, India and Brazil, while consumers in more mature mobile markets are spending two hours per day on mobile apps.

It’s no great shock, then, that Forrester predicts that 70 percent of companies will spend more on both mobile web and app advertising in 2018. Furthermore, 39 percent of companies that spend more than $5 million per month will up budgets by more than 30 percent.

This optimism about mobile marketing comes despite rampant, unavoidable ad fraud concerns, Forrester found. Of the marketers it surveyed, more than a third estimated that over 40 percent of their budgets were at risk of fraud. Only 19 percent reported taking systematic action to prevent fraud, though assigning high priority to fighting ad fraud in the next 12 months was almost unanimous.

Nintendo Switch Rakes In Cash

After just eight months on the market, the Nintendo Switch has already sold over 10 million units worldwide.

“The response from fans has been great, and we’re doing our very best to satisfy demand during the holiday shopping season,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s president and COO.

North American Sports Market Grows

PwC has released its 2017 predictions for the North American professional sports market over the next five years, forecasting the industry to bring in $78.5 billion in yearly revenue by 2021. This growth will be driven mostly by increased spending on media rights and sponsorships, especially in 2018.

“Dilly Dilly” Dependability Drops

Despite the seeming ubiquity of the second “Dilly Dilly” spot in late November, the new addition to Bud Light’s campaign has not influenced positive perception of the brand, according to new research by YouGov. Among men, favorable impressions, from news, advertising and word of mouth, peaked on November 17, coinciding with non-“Dilly Dilly” ads that aired in late October. By the time the new spot aired in late November, positive perception was already on its way down, and continued diminishing even afterward.

Data And Distrust

New research by Parks Associates indicates higher-than-ever misapprehensions about data collection. Among US broadband households, 54 percent believe they gain nothing of value from sharing their data with corporations, and 42 percent believe they cannot rely on those companies to keep their information safe.

“It isn’t sufficient to provide excellent customer care. That’s table stakes,” said Alton Martin, co-founder of Trusource Labs. “[Manufacturers] need to convey and instill confidence that not only do their products work well, but they are secure and will not allow a consumer’s home and family privacy to be violated. I can’t imagine the negative blowback if IoT devices in the home suddenly became untrustworthy. They’d be disconnected in droves.”

US consumers are placing a premium on their data, despite not being entirely sure what information about them is being collected, a new study by Censuswide finds. Of the survey’s US respondents, 31 percent claimed they did not know enough about their data to weigh in. On average, however, US consumers value the data advertisers collect at $244 annually, totaling $78.8 billion for all the personal data in the country.

This presents a fine line for marketers to walk, with 60 percent of consumers preferring data-driven relevant ads, and 48 percent willing to give anonymous data to keep online sites free.

Misuse of personal data likewise carries a hefty price tag, a study by Accenture indicated. Consumer mistrust cost American companies $756 billion last year, with 41 percent of consumers switching companies due to irrelevant messaging and poor personalization.

The rewards for companies that use data wisely are great, with 43 percent of US consumers responding that they would be more likely to shop at a company that always personalizes experiences and protects their information.

“Those that succeed will hit a ‘sweet spot,’ whereby US customers will be willing to share more personal insights into their world in return for greater value and the confidence that their data is protected,” said Robert Wollan, senior managing director at Accenture.

Many US firms find themselves up to the challenge. New information from Winterberry Group, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Data and Marketing Association found that American companies will spend just over $20 billion on third-party data in 2017.

This spending is split almost 50-50 between acquiring user information ($10.05 billion) and activations to put data insights into practice ($10.13 billion). In terms of specific types of data, omnichannel makes up the largest share, with $3.53 billion to be spent on information such as names, addresses and interests. Transactional data, or purchase histories, comes in second place with $3 billion, and digital behavior in third with $2.08 billion.

Inclusion In Advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) released a report on gender last April, which found that gender stereotypes in advertising harm individuals and society as a whole. In the year since, marketers in the UK have taken note, according to research by Shutterstock.

Among British marketers, 57 percent claimed that the ASA’s report led them to select images for their ads differently, and 35 percent have used more images featuring women in the past year. Furthermore, 90 percent of marketers agree that using more diverse images will improve a brand’s reputation, and 51 percent believe that it’s important for marketing images to accurately reflect modern society.

However, these shifts run mostly along generational lines. While 43 percent of marketers ages 25-to-34 increased their use of images of same-sex couples in their communications, only 17 percent of marketers over the age of 45 did the same.

“Striking a chord with consumers is no longer about serving them images of perfection, as social media has helped to change how people view images,” Robyn Lange, a curator at Shutterstock told Campaign. “Consumers prefer images that accurately portray the world around them, as opposed to a perfected version of the world offered by marketers.”

Netflix Releases Streaming Statistics

Netflix has released information on what its subscribers have been up to in 2017, including such tidbits as the fact that one user watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl once a day for the entire year. On average, Netflix users watched 60 movies on the platform in 2017, and in total streamed one billion hours of content every week.

Additionally, Netflix’s information establishes a major difference between binge-watched shows and non-binged shows, with no crossover between the top 10 shows in each category.


(Editor’s Note: Our weekly reports post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, December 15. Have a new report, study or insight to share? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

Casual Connect USA Coming To California’s Disneyland Hotel This January

There’s roughly a month and a half left before Casual Connect USA 2018 comes stateside – this time taking up residency at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The game development conference, taking place January 16-18, is expected to host over 200 speakers, 2,000 professionals, 100 exhibitors and sponsors, and 60 Indie Prize Showcase teams.

SPEAKERS & TOPICS

The conference is looking to be its most jam-packed and informative yet – with 15 tracks of workshops, lectures, roundtables, panels, and 1-on-1 mentoring spread across six session halls and three days. Licensing is set to be a major topic, taking advantage of the fact that California is ripe with Hollywood intellectual property and big-name brands. Other topics include game design, business development, studio growth, markets and industries, leadership and management, esports, casino gaming, kids games, monetization, and emerging technologies.

There will also be special tracks put on in conjunction with Casual Connect USA 2018 partners. LiveOps Connect with PlayFab will bring together some of the top liveops practitioners in the industry to share their stories and hard-won knowledge. United in Diversity with Contagious Creativity will explore topics in diversity, leadership, and professional growth in the video game and digital media industries.

Featured speakers include experts and executives from Disney Consumer Products & Interactive Media, Netmarble US, Insomniac Games, Xbox, HitPoint Studios, Jam City, Atari S.A., Mattel, Product Madness, Blizzard Entertainment, Twitch, DoubleDown Interactive, Skydance Interactive, Zynga and more.

INDIE PRIZE & EXHIBITORS

If it’s the latest in innovation or new partnerships you’re looking for, Casual Connect USA 2018’s exhibition area has you covered. Sixty Indie Prize teams, cultivated from hundreds of entries, will showcase the latest in independent game design and innovation on the showroom floor and compete for great prizes and Indie Prize’s iconic crystal trophies at the 21st Indie Prize Awards on January 18. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of exhibitors who can help budding and established game developers alike take their games and businesses to the next level – as well as exhibitors looking to recruit new talent into their own ranks.

NETWORKING & FUN

Alongside the conference itself, Casual Connect USA 2018 will also host three major networking parties. The fun will kick off with the Badge Pickup Party at the Disneyland ® Hotel on January 15, the day before the conference begins. On January 16 attendees can get their game on at the ESPN Zone and on January 17 attendees can enjoy a fiesta-style celebration at Tortilla Jo’s. All the parties are located very close to the conference venue and partnered hotel – making it easy to come to and from everything and make it to the conference the next day well-rested. In addition to its networking parties, Casual Connect USA 2018 also includes exclusive and unlimited access to its Pitch & Match meeting system which attendees can use to search for and connect with each other based on their needs and interests.

ADDED EXTRAS

All in all, Casual Connect USA 2018 is shaping up to be an event filled with educational insights, networking, new friendships, and much more. In addition to enjoying all these things, Casual Connect USA 2018 attendees will also get access to substantial discounts on the Disneyland ® Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier® Hotel – as well as discounts on Disneyland ® Resort Theme Park tickets. Those interested in learning more about the event should head over to the official Casual Connect USA 2018 website at http://usa.casualconnect.org/.

 

Digital Retail Experiences Coercing Holiday Shoppers Into Physical Stores

With Amazon cornering the no-frills, just-get-me-the-product market, physical retailers are feeling pushed to establish their unique value proposition. While the e-commerce giant has taken advantage of digital tools to further its dominance in convenience and commodity, physical retailers can use the same to draw consumers away from their computers and enhance their shopping journey.

In-Store Experiences

NPD Group reports that 40 percent of holiday shoppers plan to give experiential gifts over physical products this year, further continuing the trend of valuing activities over merchandise. To adapt, Nissan elected to bring memorable experiences into its dealerships, tying in with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Dec. 15.

The project, called “See the Unseen,” brings starfighters, holograms and droids from the Star Wars movies into Nissan dealerships using augmented reality technology. In addition to featuring characters and images from the iconic franchise, “See the Unseen” ties into Nissan products, explaining several safety features in a more interesting and digestible format than a user’s manual or Joe Carsalesman.

Jeremy Tucker, president of marketing for Nissan North America, described the project as “retail theater,” and also highlighted the importance not only of standing out with interesting retail experiences, but messaging as well.

“While the competition is focused on Santa Claus and red bows this holiday season, we are filling our dealerships with stormtroopers,” he said.

Simulated Tangibility

According to a survey by RetailDive, shoppers overwhelmingly prefer physical retailers for the option to test out products before purchasing. For simple products like, say, scissors, such a pre-buy trial is simple enough. However, for furniture retailers like Ikea, testing how a piece of furniture might work in the home before paying is closer to stealing than an innocuous test-run.

To give consumers the option of testing out interior design outside of pre-established showrooms (without risking jail time), Ikea partnered with TakeLeap, a Dubai-based virtual reality developer. Setting up pop-up locations across the Middle East, the DIY furniture giant allowed customers to design their own spaces with virtual Ikea products and, most importantly, buy them on-site if something strikes their fancy.

After all, the second-most-popular response in RetailDive‘s survey was the ability to take product purchases home right away, more instant gratification than any online retailer could ever hope to provide.

Human Interaction Is Overrated

Despite what analysts at Goldman Sachs might claim, interaction with underpaid, overworked retail employees is not a primary driver for shoppers stopping in physical spaces. RetailDive‘s survey found that only seven percent of consumers value the ability to pose questions to store associates as a reason to go to physical retailers.

Target embraced this antisocial shopping trend this year, installing beacons in stores to help customers navigate its labyrinths of shelving.

The Bluetooth devices allow Target shoppers to find their own location and the locations of individual items through an app on their phone, rather than having to track down an associate to help them.

Target’s beacons smooth out one of the fundamental difficulties of physical retail shopping, given that no matter how clearly-marked aisles may be, a search bar will always be an easier way to find exactly what someone is looking for.

The National Retail Federation reported that seven million more people shopped only online than only in stores over Black Friday, a trend that is unlikely to shift in the near future.

In order to stay competitive, retail brands need to lean into the physicality of their store spaces and use technology to give consumers a compelling reason to make an appearance.

Mobile Games Lack Inclusivity Toward Female Players, Study Shows

Mobile gaming is on the rise, but could a lack of inclusiveness be holding it back? A joint study by Newzoo and Google Play found that while women account for 49 percent of the US mobile gaming population, most female players don’t think games are made for them.

Still, women are taking advantage of the ubiquity of mobile games. According to the new white paper published by Newzoo, 43 percent of female players play mobile games five days a week or more, compared to 38 percent of men.

“The research shows that women are gaming in unprecedented numbers,” said Newzoo in a statement, attributing the growth to snackable formats, as well as affordable and free-to-play (F2P) games. In the US, 65 percent of women age 10-to-65 play mobile games, and of those, 64 percent prefer mobile over other platforms. Only 38 percent of male respondents prefer mobile over platforms like consoles and PC.

Newzoo found that women are more likely than men to see games as entertainment or stress relief across nearly all genres played.

As much as these players enjoy kicking back with a mobile game session, women don’t feel included in the marketing demographic. Among the top 50 grossing games in the Google Play store, twice as many icons feature men as women—a fact that Newzoo calls “discouraging.”

When female participants were asked what portion of mobile games were made for them, 60 percent chose the answer, “30 percent [of mobile games] or fewer.”

The study draws attention to a bias against playing with female players, even among women. When it comes to competitive mobile games, 37 percent of men who play 10 or more hours per week told Newzoo that they would play even more if they knew they were playing with or against other men. Only 10 percent of women said they would play more if it was with or against other women.

“An examination of the data reveals the impact that this environment is having on the women who play mobile games,” said Newzoo. “They are less likely to explore genres, talk or connect with friends about mobiles games, invest in their play and identify with gaming. Though women are gaming more than ever before, they are less likely than men to embrace it.”

This statement mirrors previous findings by Pew Research. Their study found that only six percent of women between the ages of 18-to-29 would describe themselves as a “gamer,” despite accounting for nearly half of all video game players.

Newzoo’s research was carried out among the total American online population aged 10-65 with more than 3,300 respondents. Newzoo estimates that mobile gaming will generate $50.4 billion in 2017.

“Although women prefer mobile games more than men, the mobile gaming world has a long way to go before it’s truly inclusive,” said Newzoo.

A lack of female inclusion in the video game industry has been a hot topic in recent years. Some brands are trying to make a change through female esports teams and by creating strong female characters in their games.

YouTube’s Brand Safety Team Expansion Marks Shift From Automation

As part of the Alphabet-Facebook advertising duopoly, YouTube’s heavy reliance on algorithmic suggestions and policing have drawn both high-spending advertisers and creators seeking to game the system without actually producing quality content. In response to “bad actors” jeopardizing brand safety on its platform, YouTube is making sweeping changes to its content-review team.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced Monday that they will enlist 10,000 employees to moderate and review policy-violating content on YouTube, ensuring that that video platform will have stricter criteria on the channels that can earn from ads. It marks a shift from a mostly automated system that was previously in place.

“We are planning to apply stricter criteria and conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should,” Wojcicki said. “We want to give creators confidence that their revenue won’t be harmed by bad actors while giving advertisers assurances that their ads are running alongside content that reflects their brand’s values.”

Wojcicki announced plans to also expand the network of academics, experts and industry groups YouTube consults in making its policy decisions, but did not give any further details.

YouTube has been on the hot seat for its monetization and advertising practices for months now, doing its best to balance corporate concerns about brand safety with creator concerns about revenue stability. Up until now, however, the video platform heavily favored the former, leading to confusing and seemingly arbitrary demonetization of innocuous content by gung-ho bots.

Despite the expansion of Google’s human team to hunt bad actors, Wojcicki affirmed the company’s commitment to relying on machine learning to handle the bulk of its content reviewing. According to YouTube’s internal metrics, its algorithms have flagged and removed 98 percent of violent extremism videos, 70 percent of which were flagged and removed within eight hours of being uploaded. In the future, the company will expand its algorithmic flagging to other areas, including child safety and hate speech.

“As challenges to our platform evolve and change, our enforcement methods must and will evolve to respond to them,” Wojcicki said.

Since YouTube is the top-rated platform for video ad viewability and Alphabet is the world’s largest advertiser, brands and marketers have little choice other than to wait and see when Wojcicki’s words will begin to hold serious weight.