YouTube considers transparency plans amid ads-viewability row: FT

Major advertising clients may get wish, as Google mulls opening door on view data

Tags: E-commerceGoogle IncorporatedUSAYouTube
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YouTube considers transparency plans amid ads-viewability row: FT
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 7, 2015

Google's YouTube is planning to introduce more transparency in its advertising platform after complaints by major ad buyers that they could not independently verify how much of their content was being seen by viewers.

According to a report from the Financial Times, which cites unnamed insiders, YouTube has given in to pressure from ad clients such as Unilever and Kellogg's, that have voiced concerns over the value of using the video-content site.

As pages load on YouTube, ads may land outside the viewer's visible area or the viewer may scroll away from it or dismiss the browser while the ad is playing. YouTube's plans include allowing outside agencies, such as ComScore, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science, to have access to this data so that advertisers can assess the value of campaigns.

According to Google's own ad-monitoring system Active View, based on its own ad networks, including YouTube and DoubleClick, the average portion of video ad content viewed across the Web is 54%, but Google claims this figure is 91% for YouTube.

According to standards set by the Media Rating Council and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, videos are counted as "seen" when half their pixels or more are within the viewable area for at least two consecutive second, but advertisers are not satisfied with these criteria.

"We're committed to meeting all of our clients' measurement needs", said Google, adding that it was "taking our clients' feedback into account as we continue to roll out new solutions". According to FT's insiders, the plans for transparency should be in place by the end of the year, but Google itself had no comment.

"We see the industry continuing to move in the right direction," said Keith Weed, chief marketing officer, Unilever. "Our hope is that these steps will ultimately lead to 100% viewability through third-party verification across the industry."

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