Google hardly seems bothered by the YouTube advertiser boycott

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai
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Thomson Reuters

Nobody at Google appears very worried about a recent advertising boycott of YouTube. It seems a $26 billion quarter is very calming.

While the Alphabet-owned company once again declined to break out YouTube’s revenue during its earnings call on Monday, executives spoke in effusive terms regarding the web video juggernaut.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai called YouTube one of the company’s “most promising bets” and added later that he sees “a lot more growth ahead” for the platform.

Similarly, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat noted a “strong contribution from YouTube” as one of the highlights of the company’s performance during the second quarter. Among the “biggest contributors to growth again this quarter were mobile search and YouTube,” she said.

That’s despite the fact that in late March, 250 advertisers said they pulled their ads from YouTube after several major marketers saw their ads end up next to extremist or hate videos on the Google-owned site. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that while some big brands has returned to advertising on YouTube, many had not.

The analysts on the conference call never even asked about the brand safety issues or the boycott.

Since the bulk of this ad boycott was likely to be felt during second quarter, the company’s confidence regarding YouTube on Monday’s call was revealing. It may speak to the limited impact that a few major marketers can have on a global site that caters to thousands of advertisers.

In May, YouTube hosted its annual brandcast event in New York, during which it looked to assuage advertisers concerns in part by rolling out several more ‘brand-safe’ original series. Pichai said advertiser reaction to these shows was “extremely positive.” He also said that hundreds of brands are buying ads through Google Preferred, the company’s ads sales offering designed to help marketers purchase ads on only the top YouTube channels.

Overall, Google topped investor expectations on Monday but its stock slipped about 3% in after hours trading.