The role of advertising and child safety on YouTube

There have been stricter rules for advertising targeting children since July. Not only on TV but also on YouTube. Handling such advertisements carefully and ‘brand safe’ pays off as a brand. Not only because of your moral responsibility, but also because you otherwise risk offending your audience.

From July 1, 2022, new and stricter rules will come into effect to protect children in particular from harmful video content. The rules are mainly intended for young people. They watch less TV but are increasingly active on social media and mainly watch videos via connected TV.

moral responsibility

Because of the strict rules, the need is also increasing The right brandH announced. There is a growing realization that you as a brand have a moral responsibility to ensure that content viewed by children matches the brand values ​​you want to convey as a brand and that such content also includes, for example, black, Asian or LGBTQ+ communities. I am glad that awareness of the environment in which brands advertise online – and how they can influence this themselves – is growing. Only now they also have to figure out how they can handle this as cleverly as possible.

The truth is that YouTube is one of the safest environments for advertisers to get their message across. With technology innovations and initiatives such as the YouTube Measurement Partner Program (YTMP), YouTube is committed to ensuring that the platform is a safe environment for brands to advertise within, while also being contextually relevant to each audience. Especially for children (young children). But to realize this, brands also have to take responsibility and understand the process behind it.

Not an easy process

Suitable for the brand Advertising while protecting children’s safety on YouTube isn’t just a process everyone understands. Now this is not so strange. After all, a huge amount of video content is posted on YouTube every day: about 500 hours per minute. How do you make sure you know the right context for this huge amount of content and use it the right way to get the most out of YouTube? Advertisers are now often buying on Youtube Made for Kids, which can limit volume. With this purchase option, the manufacturer indicated that it is for children’s content.

broad contextual classification

Fortunately, there are many companies and ways advertisers can help with this. YouTube has awarded seven companies worldwide the YTMP badge. This badge gives them access to the YouTube API as well as permission to access it 24/7, giving these companies the exact content and context of the millions of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute. And since they are an independent third party, this is the best way to broadly categorize context. You can read exactly how this works here.

Context, content and meaning are crucial

So in this article I prefer to discuss the importance of the context and content of videos so that we as a marketplace can ensure that the content is safe and appropriate for all viewers. The videos and ads for cars or alcoholic drinks in YouTube videos targeting children are clearly inappropriate. Under the new rules, YouTubers are no longer even allowed to advertise chocolate, candy and alcohol. Strict rules are in place and they are already active in the UK. Moreover, no UnboxingVideos featuring children’s toys are created if these products are sponsored by sponsorship.

UNICEF research report (pdf) shows the painful impact advertising has on the beliefs, ways of thinking and behavior of young people, individuals and societies. According to the report, stereotypes in advertising – in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, disability, family structure and many other aspects of identity – can be harmful and affect children’s self-esteem and even their mental health.

It must be said, however, that the adverse effect varies with age. Generations no longer children—Generation X (born 1965-1976) and Millennials (born 1980-2000)—found mismatches in advertising, video content, and stereotypes more harmful than younger Generation Z (born 1995-2010). However, the numbers from this survey show that brands and marketers must now take steps to create a safe, appropriate, relevant and positive video environment together.

KidSAFE . Certificate

Would you like to contribute as a brand to ensure that children only contact your brand in a safe and trusted environment? Then it is important that you align and adjust your marketing strategy and budget. And this is not something that should only be on the 2023 timeline, but should actually be addressed now. There is a good chance that as the holidays approach, the number of ads and videos targeting baby gifts will increase.

Take, for example, Spin Master, which, as a pioneer in children’s entertainment, has made protecting its audience a top priority and has chosen to work only with partners and technologies that can ensure children’s safety and privacy. These partners have been awarded KidSAFE certification among others. The KidSAFE certification is an international, independent safety seal awarded exclusively to child-friendly websites and technologies. This allows consumers to know whether companies are carefully and securely using personal data for advertising purposes on websites and in advertisements.

The result: happy parents, children’s self-confidence remains intact and not unimportant: in no time Brand preference and purchase intent will increase.

About the author: Nick Bentjes is the Managing Director of Channel Factory.

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