Tell Me More: Brand Suitability Flagging Techniques

Our Tell Me More series is designed to break down ad formats and products into bitesize chunks. There’s a growing universe of strategies and tactics and it’s our goal to make that universe a little more comprehensible.

Today we’ll be exploring three different techniques for brand suitability flagging: viral content flagging, sentiment filtering and audio transcripts.


Brand suitability became a legitimate concern for advertisers about a year and a half ago when brands were seeing their ads run on terrorist, pornographic and generally unsafe content. Brand suitability is especially a concern for advertisers on social media.

  • A recent study showed that 94% of advertisers are still concerned about brand safety, and almost half of respondents think platforms like YouTube and Facebook aren’t doing enough.

Brand suitability on YouTube is a shaky tightrope to walk because all content is user generated. While many brands use popular inclusion and exclusion list features to completely outlaw any obviously risky content and approve of safe ones, the fact that anyone can publish any video at any time with little to no restrictions means that even the safest of content creators could cause a brand suitability scare every once in a while.

For this post, we’ll go a little bit outside the box to explore a few brand suitability flagging techniques you may not have thought of. These features are:

  • Viral Content Flagging: Identify and monitor viral videos that may cause brand suitability issues as they begin to trend on YouTube’s platform.
  • Sentiment Filtering: Ratio of likes-to-dislikes and overall sentiment of comments to analyze how videos are received by viewers.
  • Audio Transcripts: Audio transcripts of videos to flag keywords and phrases based on your brand’s specific brand suitability parameters.


Viral content flagging, sentiment filtering and audio transcripts are for all brands that want to bolster their brand suitability strategy. If you are finding that your current strategy isn’t giving you the brand suitability security that you’re looking for, then look to these flagging techniques for further control of your YouTube advertising.

These flagging techniques are for brands that want to:

  • Be aware of trending content that may pose a brand suitability threat before it goes viral and your ad runs on it.
  • See how specific video content is received by viewers and protect their ads from running on negative content.
  • Analyze exact keywords and phrases used in videos to avoid potentially harmful content.


Each of these flagging techniques has unique benefits that will give your YouTube campaign a brand suitability boost.

  • Viral Content Flagging
    • Proactively exclude high-risk content like Logan Paul’s Suicide Forest video immediately so your brand’s ad isn’t associated with a harmful viral video.
    • Protect your brand from running on risky content that ends up on the news for being offensive.
    • Aside from brand suitability purposes, viral content flagging also recognizes viral content that matches your audience targeting parameters and aligns your ad with positive trending videos.
  • Sentiment Filtering
    • Get to know the videos you are targeting. Sentiment filtering gives you a comprehensive data of how viewers are reacting to a specific video.
  • Audio Transcripts
    • Don’t have time to watch every video? View transcripts of content audio to see exact words and phrases being used.
    • General excluded words and phrases will be highlighted.
    • View a full report of how many times certain keywords are used.


Viral Content Flagging works by using machine learning to analyze audience data points to flag trending videos before they go viral.

Sentiment Filtering works by taking a look at recent amount of likes, dislikes, and comments to find out how viewers are reacting to videos.

Audio Transcripts work by using AI and machine learning technology to transcribe videos and analyze the text to flag exclusion listed keywords.


Yes! All three flagging techniques are available on Channel Factory’s ViewIQ platform as part of our brand suitability solutions. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.

Tell Me More: YouTube Inclusion Listing

Our Tell Me More series is designed to break down ad formats and products into bitesize chunks. There’s a growing universe of strategies and tactics and it’s our goal to make that universe a little more comprehensible.

For this post, we’ll be taking a look at the industry standard for precision targeting and brand suitability – YouTube Inclusion Listing.


Inclusion Listing is a targeting and brand suitability feature that has surged in popularity in the last few years. An inclusion list is essentially a list of YouTube channels that you approve of your brand running ads on. The beauty of inclusion lists is that they are fully customized to your brand’s specific:

  • Audience, tone and messaging
  • Precise targeting strategy
  • Brand suitability parameters

Custom inclusion listing gives you the added benefit of having complete control over specific channels and videos you want your ad to appear in front of. Instead of relying on a generic inclusion list curated to inefficiently cover all niches in your industry, you can take hold of the wheel and drive your video ads towards content that you know resonates with your audience.


Simply put, inclusion lists are for any brand that wants to:

  • Increase brand suitability and target specific content: Inclusion Lists are great for brand suitability because your ad will only run on content and channels pre-approved by your brand. You have full control over where your ad is placed on the largest video platform in the world.

Creating a YouTube inclusion list is a great first step to combat risky content that could hurt your brand’s reputation. Since ads can run anywhere on YouTube’s user-generated content platform, an inclusion list will help your company take control of its brand image.


Inclusion lists offer many benefits for your YouTube campaign’s success:

  • Brand Suitability: Your YouTube ad will run on inventory that has been vetted for brand suitability, ensuring brand-appropriate content and channels.
  • Precision Targeting: Your audience is on YouTube and they’re watching very specific content. Custom inclusion lists cater to your brand and only your brand, targeting the precise audience that you want to target.
  • Boost Campaign Performance: Inclusion lists can be used to boost performance by targeting your specific audience on YouTube. Run your ad in front of content that your audience is watching to increase engagement and campaign KPIs.
  • Counteract Exclusion List Risks: YouTube’s UGC nature makes it difficult to efficiently exclude risky content since new channels and videos are created every day. If you’re looking to exclude your way to brand suitability, then you’ll always be playing catch up. With inclusion listing, you can easily approve your safe channels and sleep well at night knowing exactly where your ads are running.


How does inclusion listing work? Easy! Create your custom inclusion list and your ads will only run on the videos and channels you’ve selected. Setup your list in three simple steps:

  • Research: The first step is to research the YouTube channels and videos you want to target.
  • Create a Targeting List: After you’ve done your research, create a list of channel and videos URLs that you’d like to include.
  • Managed Placements: Create managed placements in Google Ads with the specific inclusion listed channels and videos of your choosing.


Yes! Inclusion lists must be properly built to have maximum impact towards performance and brand suitability. Here are just two features that help build a custom inclusion list:

  • Verified creator data: Review a full analysis of verified creators including audio transcripts and brand suitabilty scores to create a inclusion list of brand-friendly creator channels. Our verified creator list reduces YouTube targeting scalability issue by inclusion listing vetted creators.
  • Topic-level performance: Analyze videos and channels with custom curated inclusion lists of industry topics.

Luckily, Channel Factory’s proprietary (and award-winning!) ViewIQ technology gives you access to both features to build a dynamic inclusion list. Contact us today to learn more about our inclusion listing expertise.

YouTube Trends: Music

Digital music consumption is a continually evolving market that has undergone massive changes even in the last few years.  While advertisers slowly begin their return to YouTube in the wake of brand suitability concerns, music is a category that should be on any good marketer’s radar.  The transition from digital music downloads to streaming platforms has been rapid and shows no signs of slowing down. While most would agree that the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play dominate the scene, YouTube has emerged as a sneaky competitor and their prominence is greater than you might think.  

In 2017, video streaming accounted for 55% of all music streaming across various platforms.  The data shows that YouTube garners the majority of that 55%, solely supporting 46% of all music streaming on the internet; a claim that Spotify or Apple are unable to make.  The difference, of course is that most of this activity is from unpaid subscribers, but YouTube is seeking to change that in the very near future.

In recent years, YouTube has doubled down on their commitment to becoming a fully-fledged music streaming platform.  Statements from Google reps indicate that they will be placing a large focus on trying to get users to become paid subscribers for YouTube Music.  

[Google’s ad strategy will] frustrate and seduce’ YouTube’s free users. It’ll have exclusive videos, playlists, and other similar offerings that’ll entice music fans.  – Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music

This will mean more opportunities to run ads against musical content on YouTube as growth continues to spur.  

Brand Suitability Considerations

Running ads against musical content can be risky however.  Artists are notoriously hard to predict with regards to what their content might contain.  Even a typically “clean” artist can sometimes release content that would be considered negative for brands to run against.  The challenge becomes how to scale advertising efforts against music content without risking a brand suitability violation. Exclusion listing and inclusion listing are great tools for more static content, but music is far more dynamic than usual content on YouTube.  3rd party services that include technological solutions like audio/transcript analysis can be hugely beneficial in protecting a brand from a violation. Another concern for advertisers should be the frequent use of playlists. Listeners often turn on playlists in the background while they do other tasks; meaning some ads might fall on deaf ears.  In order to mitigate those concerns, it’s likely that audio-driven ads would perform better on this form of content. However, in spite of these concerns, music is simply too big to ignore when it comes to advertising on YouTube. Music’s dominance on YouTube is not only probable, the data shows that it is imminent.

Key Takeaways

  • Inclusion List Channels that resonate with your audience
  • Exclusion List Channels that would reflect negatively on your brand
  • Take note of Video Tags and cross-reference with Keyword Lists
  • Audit campaigns to ensure brand-suitable content alignment