Advertisers boycott YouTube over placement controversy, could cost Google $750 million

More than 250 advertisers have suspending their advertising contracts with Google, after an investigation by the Times found that ads from major companies and organizations were running alongside hate speech and extremist content.

These advertisers include five of the top 20 U.S. advertisers, who collectively make up 7.5 percent of total United States ad spend: AT&T, General Motors, Verizon, Walmart, and Johnson & Johnson.

YouTube was previously forecasted to report $10.2 billion in gross revenue for 2017. If a deal isn’t reached to bring their heavyweight advertisers back, analysts from electronic market brokerage firm Nomura Instinet predict YouTube could see a hit of $750 million to its gross revenue this year.

Nomura Instinet's YouTube revenue estimate
Nomura Instinet, via Business Insider

In a blog post last week, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler apologized to advertisers.

“Recently, we had a number of cases where brands’ ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values. For this, we deeply apologize,” Schindler wrote.

Schindler also outlined YouTube’s plan to introduce safer default settings, and additional controls that allow marketers to set their own standards.

“Every company has brand guidelines that inform where and when they want their ads to appear. In the coming days and months, we’re introducing new tools for advertisers to more easily and consistently manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the web,” he wrote.

YouTube’s revenues were estimated to be $9 billion in 2015, which makes up about 12 percent of parent company Alphabet’s total 2015 revenue, $75 billion.

  • It’s disgraceful that my revenue for Lifetime (Jul 29, 2015 – Mar 26, 2017) is only $2.17 with my watchtime minutes at 10,150 and my total views at 5,133. I have 134 videos and my stats have been halted as well as my revenue.

    • Jonathan Bickford

      To be honest it takes hundreds of thousands of views to make money on YouTube.

      • Not true at all. I’ve been monitoring channels with less views making money already. It’s quite unusual for my channel to be stuck on $1

        • Ikz

          Revenue figures on social blade are not accurate. On social blade my channel has £71 – £1.1K estimated monthly earnings and £852 – £13.6K estimated yearly earnings. But my actual stats: Lifetime (29 Nov 2011 – 27 Mar 2017) is only £397.75 ($495) – in 6 years! – with 109,543,596 watch minutes and 13,003,972 total views. – In simple terms, it’s hard to make a lot of money unless you have no copyright material, so that’s what you need to focus on and the money will come as you get views.

    • pittrek

      That’s unfortunately normal. You need thousands of views each month to get some money, and millions of views each month to get some interesting money.

    • Shauna Mills

      whats disgraceful is that you have 134 videos with only 5.1k total video views lmao. don’t complain about not getting paid for videos that obviously aren’t even close to being good enough. I have 2 videos and have about 830,000 minutes of watch time and only made a few hundred dollars. Get over it and make better videos

      • Just like a lizard to troll, but this time you came to the right one because I have 708K views which I wasn’t given credit for. So what now? Miss know-all-the-answers?

  • djslash20

    I have observed an unusual pattern in my youtube analytics the last three days. Views have increased but income has decreased. Im wondering if this boycott has something to be with.

  • $750 million is pocket change to Google (who are worth almost half a TRILLION dollars). They probably make that in a few days in interest alone.

  • pittrek

    OK what is the “hate speech and extremist content”? If you’re talking about ISIS, good. However I can’t get rid of the feeling they’re talking about all the anti-SJW channels, and that’s not OK

    • Thomas Daniels Jr.

      I suspect that is exactly who they are talking about and i agree thats not cool.

  • I honestly think that these companies should realize that ads are placed on (almost) all videos regardless of the video. There’s not that many people that watch youtube and see an ad on an offensive video and assume that the company must be offensive. Most of us skip ads anyways so, I don’t necessarily agree with the companies that they should boycott but I see where they’re coming from.

  • Joseph Olson

    maybe youtube will stop promoting all the cyber bully garbage.

  • Well this is my third Youtube channel and the same thing happened each time. My views ended up getting frozen while other channels with inappropriate content continue to grow and make money. So pittrek why do you feel than you have to to try to submit an answer for Youtube. Are you their representative or just another Youtube user? Does Youtube have a Support Department because I would like to hear from somebody in their technical support department, not another user that’s just up here guessing.

  • rorkeart

    Youtube has got an alt-right problem. The alt-right content gets views (views generated by fear and hate/disinformation) and thus content creators keep shilling alt-right talking points for a buck. The algorithms are right-wing-nut bag leaning and you just have to look at an alt-right suggested video the wrong way for youtube to suggest hundreds more to you. Bombarding you with BS conservative crazy. Pewdiepie might not have done anything wrong but youtube sure is. Stop trying to send me to infowars or shit like rebelmedia propaganda! If I were an advertiser I would not want to be next to the crazy either.

    • Heckler

      That’s a nice conspiracy theory. I wouldn’t describe Alex Jones or Rebel Media as alt-right, alt-right (currently) means the belief in an ethnostate, ie the Daily Stormer.

      Besides, cutting out a mans tongue doesn’t prove him a liar, only that you fear what he may say.

      I’d also say that SJW’s generate views with hate/disinformation.

  • This seems unnecessary. Just give advertisers the option to select what type of content they’d agree to have their adds run next to and which type they’d like to opt-out of. Just as with adsense, publishers can choose which types of ads they display. YouTube already reviews the videos that are flagged by users to some degree. Videos are already reportable by viewers so if a video is reported as containing hate speech then it would trigger a filter for that advertisers account and not display ads there.

    What am I missing?