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Charting the Path to Brand Suitability: The Strategic Advantage of YouTube Ad Topic Exclusions


Stop annoying your viewers with ads appearing on irrelevant content by utilizing YouTube ad topic exclusions. According to BrandGym, up to 90% of YouTube viewers opt to skip online video ads simply because these are not the content they were searching for in the first place. However, by strategically aligning your brand with topics that genuinely interest your audience, the dreaded “skip” becomes a worry of the past.

In this blog, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of leveraging YouTube ad topic exclusions to exclude specific topics and ensure your ads only appear where they matter most—preventing them from showing on irrelevant channels and videos. It’s time to refine your approach and make your brand stand out in the right context.

Can YouTube Ad Topic Exclusions Ensure Brand-Suitable Content?

Shaping your brand’s presence goes beyond just targeting specific topics for your video advertisements – it extends to the strategic use of YouTube ad topic exclusions. These exclusions offer a counterintuitive approach, allowing you to refine your brand’s suitability by clarifying topics that don’t align with your product or service.

Contrary to common belief, viewers don’t immediately encounter your ad creative upon entering YouTube; instead, they first engage with the content they’ve chosen to watch or actively searched for. It’s at this moment that your video ad makes its entrance. The critical factor here is the topic surrounding your ad, setting the tone for the viewer’s perception.

Topic Exclusions: What Does This Mean For YouTube Advertisers?

YouTube ad topic exclusions play a crucial role in the meticulous process of campaign construction, especially for Strike Social, where brand suitability is a top priority.

At its core, applying topic exclusion lists allows advertisers to steer clear of specific content categories such as news, politics, religion, controversial regions, drugs, crime, and mature men’s interests. These exclusions are not one-size-fits-all but adaptable building blocks that form the foundation of brand-conscious campaigns.

Let’s look at two different brands, for example:

Certainly, while some topics may overlap, each brand typically maintains a unique list of targeted topics. Conversely, the default topic exclusion lists are designed to steer clear of content featuring profanity, sexualized material, violence, and drugs.

Consider the news app, which aims for broad coverage; it might not employ additional YouTube ad topic exclusions. In contrast, the travel app, tailored for tourists and families seeking vacation plans, can craft a specific exclusion list. This list may include topics like business news, finance, sports, and politics. Such exclusions ensure that the app’s video advertisements don’t appear in searches related to current events, allowing them to surface on more relevant content such as travel vlogs and vacation recommendations.

The beauty of topic exclusions lies in their adaptability. Your topic exclusion lists can vary not only between different brands but also within campaigns and across seasons. Campaign-specific and ad group-specific lists ensure that YouTube ad topic exclusions evolve in tandem with brand needs and the unique goals of each advertising initiative.

How To Exclude Specific Topics From YouTube Ads

To build your topic exclusion lists for your YouTube ads, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Begin by accessing your Google Ads account and navigate to Display campaigns from the Views bar at the top.
  2. In the navigation menu at the left side of the screen, click on the Campaigns icon.
  3. Click the Audiences, keywords, and content.
  4. Choose Content from the drop-down menu.
  5. Once on the “Content” page, locate and click on the Topic Exclusions tab.
  6. On the “Topic exclusions” page, identify the topics you want to exclude.
  7. Conclude the process by clicking on the Remove button.

Note: The outlined instructions are for the updated Google Ads user experience. Access the previous design by clicking the “Appearance” icon at the top right of the screen and selecting “Use Previous Design.”

Why Advertisers Should Exclude Content By Topic in YouTube Advertising

While it’s easy to acknowledge that advertisers benefit from utilizing YouTube ad topic exclusions, understanding its advantages and considerations is essential.

Advancing Brand Suitability

  • Advertisers can propel their brand relevance beyond conventional visibility tactics by strategically excluding certain topics. This step ensures ads are showcased on videos and channels directly aligned with the brand and its target audience. 

Safeguarding Content and Brand Integrity

  • While YouTube commits to its Video Ad Safety Promise, protecting brands and viewers against extreme content like terrorism, nudity, and recent sensitive events, media buyers also play a crucial role.
  • Advertisers can proactively exclude specific content types, aligning video ads on YouTube with content that meets brand needs and customer preferences. 

Preventing Ad Displays on Specific Topics

  • An essential facet of brand suitability involves meticulously filtering out subtopics and niche areas lacking business relevance.
  • By implementing YouTube ad topic exclusions, you can avoid audiences with little potential for engagement or conversion. 
  • The placements of your YouTube advertisements are then reserved for contexts that connect with the actual intended audience of your brand.

How To Effectively Utilize Topic Exclusions For Enhanced Brand Suitability

Five integral components are at the heart of Strike Social’s brand safety and suitability, forming the robust fortress that ensures effective ad campaigns. Among these, YouTube ad topic exclusions are a crucial pillar, contributing significantly to brand suitability.

  • Category Exclusions

  • Video & Channel Placements

Seamlessly integrating YouTube ad topic exclusions with the broader brand suitability controls magnifies their effectiveness. Instead of viewing them in isolation, meticulously study and consider each component, from negative keyword targeting to video and channel placements, as individual steps in crafting a tailored campaign strategy.

Experience the unique benefits of Strike Social for brand alignment and campaign optimization. Book a meeting and connect with us for an insightful discussion. With almost a decade of insights, Strike Social ensures your ads capture attention and leave a lasting imprint. Beyond a typical ad campaign, our campaign handling management harmoniously amplifies your brand’s YouTube reach.

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