MediaRadar Blog

full scale advertising

A full-scale advertising boycott of YouTube? A Post Mortem.

Like you, we read those articles last month threatening a full advertiser boycott of YouTube last month (for example, here), fall-out from poor editorial controls. We were curious to see if the list of brands that said they were boycotting actually went through with it.  And what impact did that have on YouTube’s overall sales? The results surprised us. Posted below is a quick summary. 


There were 8 brands frequently mentioned in the press as stopping on YouTube: Starbucks, Dish, Pepsi, GM, AT&T, Verizon, J&J and Walmart.

Starbucks, Dish, AT&T, and Pepsi did stop buying abruptly in April, but 4 others – GM, Verizon, J&J, and Walmart – continued on YouTube unabated.  GM’s ads did move to the YouTube homepage, where there are no editorial adjacency concerns, presumably.  Walmart and J&J however kept running through April, on a variety of channels.  Those ads ran on Google Preferred channels, suggesting there is a flight to quality.

Big picture: We observe about a 5% drop in the number of advertisers in April on Google Preferred channels.  I’ll let you know if we see them bounce back in the second half of the quarter.