What Consumers Really Think About YouTube’s Offensive Content Problem and Its Advertisers

36% think an ad is an endorsement by the brand

We surveyed 502 people to find out what the brouhaha means when it comes to actual viewers. Source: Getty Images
Headshot of Christopher Heine

The ongoing controversy around advertisers like AT&T, Verizon and Johnson & Johnson pulling their ads from YouTube because of the video platform’s sometimes racist, sexist, homophobic and extremist content begs a question: What impact do such ad placements have on consumers?

So we commissioned Survata to run an online poll over the weekend of daily YouTube viewers to gauge their beliefs on the subject. There were 502 respondents, many of whom shared that they regularly see offensive clips as well as ads over the videos.

Here’s the results of our six-question survey:


In summary, the questionnaire shows that enough people (36 percent) view ads as endorsements by brands to cause concern among marketers. At the same time, 55.1 percent of survey participants said their opinion didn’t change about such brands.

So it’s a bit of a mixed bag there.

One thing does seem obvious—of all the types of offensive content, racist videos seem to be YouTube’s biggest problem in cleaning up the platform.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.