By Claire Atkin and Nandini Jammi
Major advertisers have started axing Rumble from their media buys — and for good reason.
Rumble, known as “the free speech alternative” to YouTube, is the exclusive home of Russell Brand’s daily live show. Last week, Brand was accused of assaulting and grooming women and girls as young as 16. Rumble has said they plan to stand by their partnership with Brand.
If you’re surprised, don’t be. For years, the platform has been courting the likes of Brand and other toxic personalities like Andrew Tate and Joe Rogan with multi-million dollar streaming deals. (Rogan declined its $100M offer last year.)
The platform has built a reputation on its “anything goes” and takes any chance it can get to demonstrate its commitment to protecting toxic content at the expense of advertisers.
In 2021, Rumble announced it had severed ties with Tremor International, an ad exchange that had privately approached Rumble with concerns that their client’s ads were being served on election denier Dan Bongino’s toxic show.
"Tremor's attempt to censor Dan Bongino violated Rumble's core principles," said Pavlovski. "Shadowy activists may not like what Dan Bongino has to say, but Rumble will always encourage open debate without taking sides.”
All this means one thing: Rumble is not brand-safe and has no plans to be.
But blocking Rumble from your media buy isn’t straightforward. The platform is deeply embedded in the advertising ecosystem.
Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Block the domain
This is, of course, easy. Block Rumble.com. If you run your campaigns in Google Ads, you can do this yourself by logging into your Google Ads account and following these directions, adding Rumble.com to your exclusions.
2. Block Rumble at the seller account level
If you’re a larger advertiser running ads with DV360, ask your agency to block the following seller accounts that belong to Rumble.
It’s worth taking this extra step because Rumble acts as a dark pool sales house for other toxic websites across the web. That is, the platform improperly shares its PUBLISHER seller accounts with dozens of brand-unsafe websites, including Breitbart, Bongino(.)com, Human Events, BizPacReview, and many more. (You can leaf through them yourself here.)
When you block Rumble's seller ID, you block all of them from receiving access to your ad dollars.
3. Contact your Google rep to opt out of Google Video Partners
If you’re running YouTube ad campaigns, this is the most important step you can take.
Rumble is part of the Google Video Partners (GVP) network, which allows them to collect ad dollars from YouTube campaign budgets. Google claims that GVP is a highly vetted network of websites and apps that pass stringent brand safety standards.
However, advertising research firm Adalytics produced a report this summer that found that GVP included several brand-unsafe properties, including Rumble, Breitbart, Newsmax, Russia Today, and many more.
Given this new report, opting out of GVP is generally a good idea. But if you’re trying to keep your ads from Rumble, this step is a must.
As of now, Google forcibly opts you into GVP when you run a YouTube campaign. However, Google has asked advertisers who want to opt out of GVP to contact their Google rep.
If you have a Google rep, you know what to do.
If you don’t, you can contact the Google Ads customer services hotline at 1-866-246-6453.