Report: YouTube to Ban Various Masthead Ads

A YouTube sign is seen at YouTube's corporate headquarters during an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California on April 03, 2018. Gunshots erupted at YouTube's offices in California Tuesday, sparking a panicked escape by employees and a massive police response, before the shooter -- a woman -- apparently committed …
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YouTube will reportedly stop accepting alcohol sales, gambling, prescription drugs, election, and political ads for its masthead, the widely visible rectangle across the top of the homepage.

The site masthead, which is usually the location for YouTube’s most expensive and sought-after ads, will ultimately stop accepting the particular ad verticals on Monday, according to Axios.

The report said the ban on alcohol sales would also include “branding ads for alcoholic beverages that don’t explicitly reference sales.” In addition to “endorsing a candidate for office,” and any political ads, such as any issue-based ads, will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

A Google spokesperson spoke to the Hill, saying:

We regularly review our advertising requirements to ensure they balance the needs of both advertisers and users. Today, we are updating those requirements to limit the categories of ads that are eligible to run on YouTube masthead inventory. We believe this update will build on changes we made last year to the masthead reservation process and will lead to a better experience for users.

This is due to masthead takeovers, where advertisers use moments to “make a splash ahead of an important marketing event.” Masthead takeovers have typically been more scrutinized than regular banner ads because they are so visible, the report said.

Apparently, last year YouTube originally said the company would discontinue any “full-day masthead reservations and replace them with more targeted ads that are bought on a per-impression basis, making it harder for any one advertiser to own YouTube’s homepage.”

Other companies like the Jeff Bezos-owned media establishment, Washington Post, have also received criticism in the past for hosting political ads on its homepage.

Throughout the years, Google had reportedly been “modifying its ad policies for years as it’s sought to minimize confusion, misinformation and manipulation, especially surrounding sensitive events.”

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