- Google is enlisting the Media Rating Council (MRC) to audit metrics partners Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify to validate their measurements of whether ads are viewable and for how long they are viewed, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.
- MRC will also verify data purchased via Google’s AdWords and DoubleClick ad buying platforms for ads appearing on non-Google sites, according to the Journal.
- In other news, YouTube is reportedly planning to eliminate its unskippable pre-roll 30-second ad unit by next year, according to UK ad industry publication Campaign. The platform will continue to offer unskippable pre-roll ads of 20-seconds and the 6-second bumper format.
While YouTube has been working with the MRC for a decade to validate some of its measurements, the latest commitment comes as digital video’s role continues to grow even as the prevalence of unclear and inaccurate measurements is becoming a bigger problem. Standing issues with transparent, accurate metrics has drawn the ire of influential players like the Association of National Advertisers and the world’s largest advertiser Procter & Gamble.
Last year, the ANA publicly urged Facebook to get MRC accreditation following a series of revelations indicating some video measurements had been incorrect for years. Then, last month, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, speaking at an Interactive Advertising Bureau event, took the entire digital marketing ecosystem to task for enabling a non-transparent media supply chain to evolve, resulting in a bad experience for consumers and the inability of marketers to accurately assess their efforts. The kicker? Pritchard gave platforms like Facebook, Google and others one year to clean up their act or the company would take its business elsewhere.
Facebook seemed to bow to industry pressure recently, committing to work with the MRC for increased transparency and accuracy in its measurements. Google’s senior director of product management told the Journal that YouTube’s newly enlarged relationship is not a reaction to industry pressure but that the goal is to complete the integration over the next six months.
Dropping the 30-second, unskippable pre-roll on YouTube is likely an attempt to improve the user experience by getting rid of a format deemed intrusive and annoying by many. As mobile viewing grows for YouTube, it’s possible its long unskippable ads were stopping people from watching some video clips and possibly even driving them off the platform altogether. On mobile devices, viewers tend to have an even shorter fuse than on desktops for putting up with ads. Snapchat’s own research, for example, has found that its video ads were viewed for less than three seconds, on average.