YouTube for Kids logo

YouTube advertising – whose responsibility is it anyway?

YouTube for Kids logoYouTube ads have been much debated in the past few weeks. First, there was Jamie Oliver’s company telling vloggers like Zoella and Alfie Deyes to be more circumspect in the placement of the ads that appear before, during or alongside their videos by putting agreements in place to stop junk food ads being associated with their content.

This strikes me as bizarre: Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube obviously has a good relationship with YouTube and the company can clearly set their own terms. You would assume YouTube’s star vloggers might be in a similarly strong position (although – and I am no expert – I would imagine a large, international company like Jamie Oliver’s probably has a bigger pool of staff to liaise with Google on such things, compared with the individual vloggers and their support teams.)

But even assuming Gleam’s roster of social talent could forge such agreements with YouTube, what about the many, many other content providers – a lot of whom create content aimed at children and young teens, which is the central point in the complaint against vloggers with their mostly teenage audiences – who can’t leverage such pressure? Why is it the responsibility of the individual, group or even company of creators to ensure the ads that are shown against content is appropriate for their audience? The Independent’s report said it was “clear that the adverts [shown on vloggers’ accounts] would not pass regulations for broadcast on television set up by the Advertising Standard Authority.” But surely, surely, it’s up to YouTube to work to ensure that the ads placed by other content providers are shown on the appropriate channels?

As The Independent does point out, currently Google’s AdSense system determines how and where videos are shown – it is not the choice of the channel owner to say where an ad might be placed. It would make sense, then, to put the pressure on YouTube to improve its AdSense filtering – that way, all channel owners (and parents) can be reassured as to the appropriateness of its ads, not just the channel’s breakout stars.

In recent months, YouTube has announced that an ad-free subscription model similar to Spotify is on its way and released its YouTube For Kids app in the US, so it does seem to be on their radar. But, with Google refuting the comments of US children’s groups objecting to the content on YouTube for Kids, plus last week’s release from YouTube reporting a significant increase in the amount of people engaging with ads via mobile devices, you have to wonder how much the actual content of approved ads is likely to change any time soon…

What do you think? As a YouTube channel owner with a focus on children’s content, I’d be interested to hear any comments.

After Launch


We launched a website at the beginning of this month.

This is exciting.

Part of the reason it’s exciting is that you can justifiably obsess over your stats (Google Analytics, in my case) for at least two weeks and ohmyGOD there is just so much exciting information to digest.

And therein lies the problem: there is SO MUCH data you can measure, it can be incredibly difficult to know where to start. You want to measure everything, but you don’t know yet what will be valuable, especially if you’re not a straight-forward e-commerce site. This is where it starts to lose the exciting element and become a bit daunting…

Especially when you add in all the other things you have to think about properly now you’re live: SEO for your pages, improving links from third-party sites (which, thanks to this, now has a whole other level of daunt attached), and, of course, creating lots of good content to add to your site every day.

Eeek. Lots to do.

So here are the two things I know for definite:

  1. Avoid Black Hat SEO tactics at all costs. Basically, if you write content that your audience likes, Google will also like you better.
  2. There will always be other people out there who have had the issues you’re having now, and in a lot of cases will have created resources you can make use of. This econsultancy blog post for example has a really useful list of suggested custom reports ready to go, and they also have a great post about how to set up custom reports.

Essentially – if in doubt, Google it.

Of course.

I should have known that… part one

FBpublic[Image credit, Facebook Help Center]

I’ve been managing various social media accounts for about five years. Not to mention boring a very few people with my own Twitter ramblings, Facebook updates, instagrammed landscapes, etc etc. Like most social media account managers, this means being fanatical about content and borderline obsessed with all kinds of analytics, stressing over engagement and reach and numbers of varying types.

But sometimes you discover something so blindingly obvious you are convinced everyone else has known it for ages and you are a fool. Or someone asks you something you think is blindingly obvious but you know that person is not a fool.  And the only logical conclusion is that these things are not as intuitive as you, with your obsessive page refreshing, might think.

So on the supposition that even seemingly basic things have to be explained at least once, I am going to start cataloguing some of the things I didn’t know about social media, both from a personal and an account management perspective, until I looked them up.

So here goes – starting with Facebook for personal profiles (the same tips not necessarily being the best thing for brands…)

Tips for getting the best out of your Facebook News Feed.

  • If you’re trying to tag a brand or person in a status update and the name doesn’t come up straight away, type the ‘@’ sign before you begin writing their name. Then it should pop up.
  • If you want to see updates in your feed in reverse chronological order, select to sort by ‘Most Recent’ at the top of the feed (this will be in the top right corner of the feed if you’re on a desktop, next to the first right-hand column ad. On a smart phone or tablet it should be an option under the three little lines in the very top left corner – you’ll see News Feed as a sub-option then select Most Recent, OR on an iPhone it might be an option right at the top of the feed, just under the News Feed heading.)
  • On an iPhone you can also sort your news feed by type, for example just to see photos, or to see certain lists, like people from work or school.
  • Which brings us on to lists. Like circles on Google+, you can put people in certain lists so that either they or you only see specific activity. The easiest way to find and create lists is on a desktop – go to your News Feed, then where it says ‘News Feed’ under ‘Favourites’ on the left-hand side of the page, hover over it until a little edit button pops up. Click that and it’ll show you all your existing lists – including what Facebook calls ‘Smart Lists’ ie people from your work/school networks or location.
  • This is also where you can create new lists – for example, a list for industry friends or a specific friendship group – so that you group updates from relevant people in one place. To see updates from people just in that list, you can select it either from your phone (as above) or on the desktop in the left column under ‘Friends.’
  • The ‘Restricted’ list option allows you to group specific people you only want to see your public updates. So if you’ve got work colleagues and you don’t want them to see your drunken weekend antics, add them here. To do this, go to the person’s profile and select the ‘Friends’ button at the bottom of their cover photo, then go to ‘Add to another list’. ‘Restricted’ will be an option in the drop-down – just select it. The person won’t know you’ve added them to this list.
  • ‘Acquaintances’ is another useful list. Adding anyone to this list – which you do in exactly the same way as above – will ensure that fewer of their updates appear in your main News Feed. Their posts won’t disappear entirely but you’ll only see what Facebook thinks is important. Very good for people you don’t know very well who post incessantly!
  • If you want to hide a specific person’s updates from your News Feed completely, again, go to their profile and select the ‘Friends’ button in the bottom right corner of their cover photos. There you’ll get an option to select or deselect ‘Show in News Feed.’ Again they won’t know if you choose to make sure their updates don’t show.
  • If you want to see posts from just the Pages you follow (brands, venues, musicians, TV shows, etc) then these have their own feed too. On a desktop, it will appear on the left-hand side under Pages as ‘Pages Feed.’
  • If you’re posting an update or album of pictures that you want only a certain selection of your friends to see, use the audience selector tool. This is available underneath the update box – on a status update, it’s next to the ‘post’ button and will probably be automatically set to either ‘Public’ or ‘Friends’ depending on your privacy settings. Click on it, and a drop-down box will display – as in the photo above. Select the list you want to show your update to if it’s specific (eg pictures from a work event might just be shown to work colleagues) or if you’re happy for anyone but your ‘Restricted’ list to see it, just select ‘Friends.’

It’s important to note that adding people or pages to lists doesn’t stop them from appearing in your main News Feed completely. Your News Feed will always be a collection of everything that Facebook thinks is of interest to you, based on your previous activities. So if you interact a lot with people in a newly created Friendship list and you also comment on your favourite band’s page a lot, your News Feed will still showcase activity from those feeds. It’s like Amazon recommendations: the more active you are in hiding activity you DON’T like, or commenting/clicking/sharing/ and, um, liking posts you DO like, the more relevant your News Feed will be for you. But lists are very handy for collecting everything together in one place.

Do you have anything else you’d add here that’s of relevance to personal Facebook profiles?

There’s lots more Facebook help here if you’re interested.