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.