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YouTube set to finally give brands more transparency for viewed ads data


By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

September 7, 2015 | 3 min read

YouTube could finally be allowing brands to use third-party services to measure the success of their advertising campaigns.

The Financial Times has reported that YouTube will soon allow third-party verification groups to insert code onto its site, enabling outside analytic tools to collect data on ad campaigns giving brands an insight into whether their ads have been seen and how their money has been spent.

YouTube’s u-turn comes after complaints from brands such as Unilever and Kellogg’s who pulled their ads in May because third-party analytic services were not permitted and they claimed they had no real way of measuring advertising success on the platform.

Following Kellogg’s departure in May, Rino Scanzoni, the chief investment officer of the world’s largest advertising media company GroupM, summed up third party verification as “a critical component to responsively measure ad viewability”. He added that the vast majority of publishers agree to it and those who don’t will be “adversely impacted with significantly reduced spend or be completely removed from our preferred vendor list.”

Although Google’s Active View offers analytics, advertisers have remained discontent with not knowing the method behind the data collection. YouTube’s reluctance is thought to relate to concerns that third-party viewability would slow down page load speeds as well as increase the threat of data security breaches.

The Drum approached YouTube for comment on the rumoured turn around. A spokesperson said: “We're committed to meeting all of our clients' measurement needs through a combination of product innovation and industry partnerships. Viewability in particular has long been a concern for our clients, which is why we've supported industry-wide efforts and developed MRC-accredited technology, Active View, to measure and buy based on viewability across our products. We have further efforts planned in this area and are taking our clients' feedback into account as we continue to roll out new solutions.”

On discussing adverters’ problem on YouTube, Juliette Otterburn-Hall, chief content officer at beamly said that “ads at the start of a video can feel forced and many viewers skip them when possible. Social discovery, on the other hand, is far more successful in reaching and engaging the target audience”.

She added that“rather than investing considerable sums into putting ads at the start of YouTube videos, which may or may not reach the intended audience, advertising budgets would be much better invested in creating content designed to be shared across social media by those who are actively interested in it”.

Google and Facebook remain the most stubborn companies restricting outside access to advertising data. Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Hulu, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, Turner, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are all said to support third-party viewability verification.

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