YouTube creators have been disgruntled for a few years now about how the platform treats its contributors, most specifically in regards to the demonetization of videos. You may have heard of the “Adpocalypse” when earlier this year advertisers got spooked out of running ads on YouTube for fear of being played against videos with bigoted, terrorist-produced, or other inappropriate content. As a result, creators have seen a notable downturn in ad revenue on YouTube, and the platform has instituted machine learning technology to flag and demonetize videos that may not be suitable for advertisers.
As a little background, here is how YouTube handles ad sales, as explained by YouTube gamer Michael Sawyer:
“So YouTube does ‘portfolio’ ad sales. They don’t bother the product ad exec with specific shows or talent. They have a ‘portfolio.’ They start with categories (called verticals), so if you want to appeal to a particular demographic, YouTube ad sales might recommend ‘someone in the gaming vertical’ or ‘the comedy vertical,’ etc. From there, it’s tiered-based on … well, something. Most likely views, the more audience reach and the higher it costs to advertise with them… Advertisers pick a category (vertical) and a pricing tier, and let YouTube do the rest in terms of actually placing the ad with a video.”
So long story short, creators have no control over what ads are running against their videos, and advertisers have very little control over what videos their ads run against. The other week, Casey Neistat proposed a straightforward solution to this issue: what if creators could sell their own ads?
In this video about the recent demonetization scandals, Neistat points out that a select few channels are allowed to sell their own ads, then he asks, “why can’t I sell my own ads? Why not build us creators, or at least creators who make a living off of this platform, why not build us a suite of tools or a marketplace where we can advertise our channel and what it represents, and maybe suggest advertisers or demographics that we feel might dovetail the best with the content we’re putting out there… Why not give us greater agency over how our content is monetized? That way when there is a situation like an ‘Adpocalypse’, we’re not collectively punished along with the people who cause the controversy in the first place.”
Just last week, YouTube rolled out an updated demonetization algorithm that they claim will reduce the number of demonetized listings by 30%. It remains to be seen how accurate that claim is, but it seems as though YouTube creators won’t stop talking about demonetization anytime soon. Would putting the ad sales ball in the creators’ court solve the drama? We can’t be sure about that either, but it certainly seems like greater levels of transparency must be achieved if YouTube wants to keep their creators around.
What do you think about the “Adpocalypse” and YouTube’s ad sales model? Send us your thoughts at snapfluence[at]snapfluence.com.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
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