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Walled Gardens Technology Transparency

Google bows to third-party verification demands with YouTube now open to Media Ratings Council audit


By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

February 21, 2017 | 4 min read

In a further sign of the digital sector’s biggest media owners bowing to ‘buyer power’, Google has agreed to have its campaign metrics accredited by third-party sources, following a recent similar move by the industry’s other ‘walled garden’ Facebook.

Google Fake News

Ads bought on YouTube as well as DBM & AdWords will now be accredited by DoubleVerify, IAS and Moat

An announcement today (February 21) from Google revealed that DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Moat will be able to independently verify whether ads served on its video sharing site YouTube are actually viewed by a user, and for how long.

Additionally, Google has also agreed to have ads bought via DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) and AdWords audited by the the Media Ratings Council (MRC) accredited outfits.

This means that Google is now fully accredited for video ad impressions and viewability statistics for media bought on desktop web, mobile web and mobile app via DBM.

In a blog post entitled Building trust and increasing transparency with MRC-accredited measurement, Babak Pahlavan, senior director of product management, analytics solutions and measurement, at Google, said the updates were to ensure its metrics were objective and accurate.

“We strongly believe in the need for third-party accreditation through the MRC,” reads the post. “The audit will validate that data collection, aggregation and reporting for served video impressions, viewable impressions, related viewability statistics and General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) across desktop and mobile for each integration adheres to MRC and IAB standards.”

Pahlavan went on to write: “We are also seeking MRC accreditation for video impressions and viewability statistics and GIVT detection for display and video in both AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager. These MRC audits will span across all video available through these buying platforms — including YouTube and partner inventory.”

Earlier this month, Facebook also agreed to have its metrics audited by the MRC for ads across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network also unveiled updates to its ad offering that will include a new set of KPIs for advertisers to trade on, more impression-level data, and further third party verification partners.

In its bid to become more transparent, it also revealed it will provide more detailed impression-level data to marketers that will include the milliseconds that an ad was on the screen, milliseconds that 50% of the ad was on the screen, milliseconds that 100% of the ad was on the screen.

Google and Facebook – the two-biggest companies on the internet when its comes to paid-for media – have often been accused of “marking their own homework”, and the advertising industry’s biggest names have become increasingly vocal about the levels of transparency they provide.

These calls have been growing for some time, but arguably culminated in the biggest-spending brands in advertising Procter & Gamble issuing a a wake up call over the “murky” world of online advertising at the IAB leadership summit earlier this year.

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