Imagine you’re a 12-year-old girl. You are super excited about watching the new Zoella Youtube beauty tips video. When you click the video, an ad pops up for the new horror movie Unfriended. Instead of mascara and eye liner you are seeing horrific images. This is not what you thought you were getting into.
It’s becoming more and more common that YouTube advertisement are not correlating with the demographics of the videos that are being viewed. YouTube advertising is becoming a big business. To post an advertisement on YouTube, you have to upload your video through AdSense, a website that “targets adverts to the appropriate audience.”
However, this does not hold true for all YouTube videos. Parents are becoming angry with companies such as Coca-Cola, Haribo, and other sugary products as they are advertising to their young children. The target demographic for YouTubers that subscribe to Zoella and her boyfriend Alfie Deyes is “11 to 17-year-old girls.”
The companies that produce these sugary products aren’t being allowed to market on children’s channels due to Advertising Standards Authority rules and according to Professor Jason Halford “Advertising does affect children in terms of what they purchase and reinforcing the brand.”
YouTube is a social media platform full of niche communities with specific demographics. If advertisers can learn to take advantage of this and market to the right demographic, YouTube could become an even more influential advertising market in the future. However, if mistakes like a horror movie or sugary food ad appearing on a children’s video keep occurring, advertisers could face more backlash than the ads are worth.
Have you ever been victimized by an unwanted YouTube advertisement?
-Nick Bolick, Olivia Sadler, and Patrick Wagner