YouTube is prohibiting ads related to gambling, elections and political content, alcohol, and prescription drug terms for its masthead slot. According to Google's support page, assets that depict or reference content including offline gambling, online gambling, online non-casino games, the sale of alcohol, and informational ads focusing on alcoholic beverages will be banned from masthead ads. Assets related to elections, politics and those that reference prescription drug terms will also no longer be shown on masthead ads.
Google explained that masthead ads are the most prominent Google advertising placement available to advertisers. It added that YouTube masthead ad content requirements may be more restrictive than the ad requirements for other platforms and surfaces, meaning disapproved YouTube masthead ad assets may continue to run on Google’s other owned and operated properties.
Meanwhile, a separate Google Ads support page said the YouTube masthead ad is ideal for companies that want to drive massive reach or awareness, plan their buys in advance and not rely on auction, and show off their brand or service in a prominent space on the platform. Without a doubt, this new guideline will impact the level of reach advertisers can obtain. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Google for additional information.
Separately, major alcohol brands in Europe including AB InBev, Bacardi Limited, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken and Pernod Ricard are currently part of the Responsible Marketing Pact (RMP) launched in 2012. Assisted by the World Federation of Advertisers, the pact has been implemented across the European Union since 2014 and its signatories believe it is their responsibility to conduct business in a manner that does not encourage inappropriate and excessive drinking.
To limit the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising, RMP signatories commit to place ads only in media where at least 70% of the audience are adults. This is applied equally across all media channels, including online advertising. The standard alcohol profile under the RMP contains five safeguards limiting minor's interaction with alcohol brand profiles on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
In 2019, YouTube also made headlines for its move to end targeted ads on videos that are watched by children. This followed a case by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which fined Google for violating child privacy laws. According to the news media outlets, FTC said Google collected data from children who used its services which is a breach of privacy laws in the US.
Aside from YouTube, Google also said it either blocked or removed approximately 3.1 billion ads last year for violating its policies and restricted an additional 6.4 billion ads. About 867 million ads were either blocked or removed for abusing the ad network, while 91 million were removed as they violated legal requirements. It also blocked over 99 million COVID-19 related ads from serving throughout the year. This included ads for miracle cures, N95 masks due to supply shortages, and most recently, fake vaccine doses.
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