The Real Culprit Behind YouTube's Adpocalypse? Brands.

You've probably heard your favorite YouTubers lament the recent changes to the platform's advertising policies. Several big brands recently pulled their ads from YouTube after finding the ads next to offensive content such as hate speech videos. The mass exodus made Google's value drop $750M in one day.

However, Google overreacted. They rushed to fix the symptoms without addressing the root cause. Their new, hypersensitive YouTube ad algorithm has since mislabeled and demonetized countless videos. People are losing their livelihoods for what, on the surface, appears to be no good reason.

Several indie news channels, including Philip DeFranco, have covered the phenomenon at length. The term "Adpocalypse" was coined by veteran YouTuber Hank Green of the Vlog Brothers:


But, something seems to be missing from all this independent coverage; the perspective of the advertisers and ad buyers themselves.

I've purchased ads on several platforms on behalf of dozens of companies large and small. Many companies are hands-off when it comes to the technical details of placing an ad. This is particularly true of a platform as fussy as Google AdWords.

When placing a YouTube ad, you have the option to include or exclude keywords associated with videos your ad will appear before, during, or next to. This is based on a given video's title, description, tags, and more in broad match format. This is the easiest way this problem could have been minimized. Not avoided, but minimized.


Today's brands and, in turn, digital ad buyers, want immediate results. An overcrowded industry creates an ongoing threat of replacement. An eternal race to the bottom for the sake of ROI. Many agencies prioritize implementation speed at the agency level.

If brands wanted the work done right, they would have paid for and practiced quality over quantity. The adpocalypse is 2017's best example of why you should always pay more and get it done right. Don't make the same mistake. Everyone knows how hard it is to shake off a bad brand association.

Ads show up on solid content, your cool ad is clicked, and great content creators are paid. It's how the YouTube ads and revenue sharing system was always meant to be used.



Brands created the YouTube Adpocalypse by demanding more for less. This created a high-pressure environment that encourages agencies to cut corners.

You can avoid the same mistake. Choose a great ad buyer to work with or take every opportunity to customize your ad targeting.