World's Biggest Advertiser Cut $200M of Its Digital Ad Spend Last Year

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), the world's biggest advertiser, had cut back on its digital advertising spend by more than $200 million last year.

The consumer products giant said that it wanted to more effectively reach consumers and that the amount it was spending was largely a waste. Procter & Gamble, with brands like Crest, Tide and Pampers, slashed its spending by about $100 million in the June quarter and another $100 million from July to December. 

The cutbacks came after the company received more data regarding the ads it was publishing on social media platforms like Facebook (FB), according to the Wall Street Journal, which interviewed CEO Pritchard. 

“Once we got transparency, it illuminated what reality was,” said Pritchard. In addition to asking for more transparency, the company had also been pushing for online platforms to monitor content quality more.

One of the largest cutbacks was with Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube platform. Along with Facebook, YouTube has also been indicating that it will improve its policy that had P&G’s video ads running next to objectionable content. P&G completely pulled its online advertising with Google in March and has yet to return.

Recently, Google’s YouTube seemed to come to P&G’s aid during the “Tide Pod challenge,” viral videos in which people challenged each other to each the toxic detergent. YouTube funneled users who searched for the “Tide Pod challenge” to P&G’s video discouraging the practice. (See also: Procter & Gamble Continues to Have Two Big Problems.)

Unilever (UL) is also threatening to pull its own digital media advertising from Facebook’s and Google’s platforms. Unilever, with brands like Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Lipton, said the platforms are riddled with racism, extremism and sexism.

Unilever’s marketing director recently said that the company cannot continue to support the platforms with its ads, in part out of a concern for what children view.

Shares of Procter and Gamble are down more than 13% in the past year, with the stock off about 7% in the past month alone. 

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