According to Axios, YouTube’s masthead ad spot, which sits at the top of the website and app, would no longer accept ads related to alcohol, gambling, politics, or “prescription medicine phrases.” According to The Verge, the restrictions on the kind of advertising that can show in this position will “lead to a better user experience.”
Because the masthead spot is one of the first things people see when they open YouTube, it’s logical that removing advertising for drugs, alcohol, or gambling would make the platform more inclusive for everyone.
In terms of politics, it may help the platform avoid controversies like the one that erupted when then-President Donald Trump bought the slot for three days during the 2020 election.
Ads in the masthead slot can “drive tremendous reach or awareness,” according to YouTube’s ad support website, but that megaphone will no longer be available to people looking to advertise in specific areas.
Users may already limit the quantity of alcohol and gambling-related ads they view on YouTube, and the option should have extended to the masthead ad as well — according to Google, the slot was updated last year to show targeted advertising instead of ones that were reserved for an entire day.
For years, Google has struggled to strike a balance between what it shows in advertising and what it doesn’t – most recently, it has restricted advertising that used hate speech as keywords, political misinformation, and conspiracy theories concerning COVID-19.
Google’s advertisements business has come under increased attention from politicians who believe it is ripe for antitrust regulation as it works to clean up what advertising it places in front of users.