Following the news earlier in the month that Facebook has agreed to an audit by the Media Rating Council (MRC) as a step to boost confidence following revelations of inflated campaign performance stats, Alphabet Inc’s Google has revealed plans for an audit of its YouTube metrics.
The MRC will audit the way independent metrics companies Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify collect data measuring whether video ads are viewable on YouTube and how long they are viewed, evaluating how technology is used and integrated on YouTube’s website and app.
The process will also look into how ads on non-Google sites are purchased via ad buying tech platforms AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager, spanning across all video available through these buying platforms including YouTube and partner inventory.
According to a blog by Google’s senior director of product management, analytics solutions and measurement Babak Pahlavan, measurement has been a top priority of late.
“As we’ve said many times, ‘If you can’t measure it, how do you know it worked?’ Committing to measurement is critical, but just the first step. We believe that that the industry needs metrics that are trusted, transparent and easily verified,” said Pahlavan.
Google gained its first accreditations in 2006, and has partnered with the MRC over the past decade.
“Google’s announcement that they are undertaking an independent audit of their third party viewability reporting integrations is a positive step forward for marketers,” commented ANA president and chief executive Bob Liodice. “This action from Google today demonstrates their commitment to partnering with us to deliver this goal.”
MRC chief executive and executive director George Ivie commented that Google’s commitment to the initiatives has been unflinching over time. “We look forward to working on these new audits and expanding the industry’s trust as it relates to YouTube’s third party integrations and DoubleClick Bid Manager,” he added.
From a brand perspective Procter & Gamble chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, who last month insisted media companies should not be “grading their own homework”, said the audit would bring important progress to move the industry forward: “At P&G, we are encouraged by Google’s actions, which should make a positive impact on creating a clean and productive media supply chain.”
Pahlavan commented that he hopes the audit to be completed over the next two quarters, to counter frustration that YouTube’s reluctance to implement third party tracking codes from parties like Moat or DoubleVerify directly implies the data could be less transparent.
“Transparency and trust are fundamental to measurement, and they’re fundamental to our strategy for giving marketers and publishers the metrics and insights they need to make better decisions,” concluded Pahlavan.
“A solid foundation has been created, but there is much more work to do. In 2017, we’ll continue to seek ways to raise the bar on transparent and trustworthy measurement, and we welcome your partnership along the way.”