Google secures new MRC accreditations, updates progress on brand safety and reach measurement
- Google announced in a company blog post that is has received new Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditations across its advertising products, including Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform's Digital & Video 360 and Campaign Manager, and Google Ad Manager. Google also updated its progress with Google Measurement Partners for viewability, brand safety and reach reporting on YouTube.
- The MRC accreditations, which are intended to ensure a company's audience measurement tools are transparent and effective, are supported across Google's search, display and video ads, and include aspects of clicks, served impressions, viewable impressions and invalid traffic detection and filtration. YouTube video ad impressions and viewability metrics for desktop, mobile web and mobile in-app are now MRC accredited in Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager. Google also said it has started the MRC accreditation process for brand safety and Unique Reach reporting on YouTube in Google Ads.
- The YouTube data feed for video viewability reporting by third parties is being audited by MRC, with the goal of accreditation for integrations with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (IAS). Brand safety verification on YouTube by DoubleVerify and IAS is in expanded beta, where success rates on auction and reserve functions are at 99%, according to the blog post. Google is also expanding reach measurement with existing partners, including Nielsen, comScore and Kantar, and will soon add the firm Meetrics to that list.
Google's updates are meant to ensure that marketers continue to feel confident in using the company's advertising products and that the tools it offers to track and gauge campaign effectiveness are working properly. Third-party MRC accreditation for advertising metrics became a bigger part of the industry conversation after a slew of controversies surrounding viewability surfaced several years ago, causing some advertisers concern that the data they were receiving were inaccurate and in some cases seriously inflated by major digital platforms.
Some companies, including the packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble, went as far as to demand all of their vendors receive MRC accreditation as a baseline standard before working with them further. By adding more commonly accepted MRC standards and Interactive Advertising Bureau guidelines for measurement, Google is aiming to improve transparency and help marketers determine the most effective digital ad placements.
Brand safety, like viewability, has been in sharper demand as marketers grow more conscious about where their ads appear online. Google's YouTube platform has been the target of several ad spending freezes after reports uncovered that ads from major companies were appearing on videos featuring hate speech, violence and other toxic material. The technology giant has introduced tougher monetization requirements and hired more manual content reviewers to address the issue. While securing third-party accreditation for brand safety on YouTube is still a work in progress, Google clearly wants to assure its customers that the goal remains top of mind when it comes to its marketing priorities.
"Google has consistently demonstrated a commitment to helping advertisers and publishers achieve transparency and quality in measurement through its work with the MRC. In addition to submitting products for initial consideration for MRC accreditation, Google also has expanded on the scope of what’s being submitted for existing accredited products," George Ivie, CEO and executive director at the industry watchdog, said in a statement. "This progress is emblematic of what we at MRC consider to be our core industry mission: to help lift the bar for quality in measurement consistently upward."
Google has, in recent months, made several major changes to its digital advertising platform, which is the largest by revenue in the world. In June, it combined DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange into what is now Google Ad Manager, along with folding DoubleClick advertiser products and the Google Analytics 360 Suite under the Google Marketing Platform umbrella. At the same time, it rebranded Google AdWords to the more streamlined Google Ads service.
The Alphabet-owned business has also experienced some hiccups following the tweaks. The Google AdX platform for publisher reporting experienced outages starting in late August that continued until last week, per AdExchanger.
For Q2 2018, Google's parent company Alphabet reported revenues of $32.7 billion, a 26% jump year-over-year. Ad sales reached $28 billion, a 23.9% year-over-year increase.
Follow Peter Adams on Twitter