Advertiser Trade Bodies Join Forces to Call for More Accountability from Google and Facebook

IPAThe IPA has formally called upon Google YouTube and Facebook to work with the IPA and ISBA, who represent the UK’s biggest advertising agencies and advertisers, to bring the safety, measurement and viewability of their online video up to acceptable industry standards.

In a letter to the two companies, commonly to as the “the duopoly” in digital advertising, IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair highlighted three action points that he believes are necessary to enable the delivery of global standards in online advertising verification and cross-platform video advertising audience measurement:

Brand Safety

YouTube and Facebook to become signatories to the Digital Trading Standards Group’s (DTSG) Good Practice Principles, which will entail the independent verification of their brand safety policies and processes within six months. Concerns about brand safety on both platforms have featured regularly in the national press (who of course have a vested interest in publicising such stories), most notably the series of articles published by The Times that highlighted how ads from leading brands were being run against video content featuring antisemitic content and ISIS videos.

Video Audience Measurement

YouTube and Facebook to meet standards of independent, industry-owned audience measurement, which will enable cross-platform video audience measurement in the UK.

Whilst Google and Facebook have budged a little bit when it comes to allowing advertisers to measure within their walled gardens, some say the moves don’t go far enough.

This is in spite of the fact that earlier this year Google announced that DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Moat are permitted to independently verify whether ads served on its video sharing site YouTube are actually viewed by a user, and for how long. 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.

Facebook also made a number of announcements about how it was opening up its inventory by a number of partners, including Nielsen, Integral Ad Science, Moat and DoubleVerify. This came after Facebook was found to be measuring the effectiveness of advertising on its platform incorrectly and at the expense of advertisers, for which the company apologised last year in a blog post.

Video Viewability

The trade bodies also called for YouTube and Facebook to use the UK as a test bed for delivering online and mobile video ad supply that is optimised for 100 percent viewability and for ads that which can be independently verified.

Paul Bainsfair, the IPA’s Director General said, “The internet has evolved into a complex ecosystem, fuelled by mobile. Online budgets have exploded from around 16 percent of total spend (2007) to over 40 percent today, and online video has now established itself as an effective brand building format alongside television advertising.

“As the two biggest online video suppliers, YouTube and Facebook have a responsibility to ensure the best possible standards for advertising on their platforms.

“Whilst we acknowledge that small steps towards addressing recent concerns have been taken, our advertisers and agencies are increasingly telling us that this progress is neither fast, nor significant, enough.

“We believe it is incumbent upon the key players in this sector, therefore, to show real commitment to finding solutions to these problems.

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