Google to tell brands whether video ads are actually getting views

Google will now tell brands who publish video ads via DoubleClick whether their content is actually being watched by users, as opposed to being skipped or scrolling off-screen.

Google: telling advertisers whether their video ads are actually seen
Google: telling advertisers whether their video ads are actually seen

The company announced viewability reporting across its ad platforms, part of its goal of "full transparency" for marketers.

Google has taken its definition of viewability from the Media Rating Council, an independent US body responsible for coming up with measurement standards. By that definition, Google will tell advertisers whether at least 50% of their video ad was in view for at least two seconds.

For now, that means advertisers won’t know whether the sound was on, or how long their ad was viewable. However, Google says both features will come later this year.

Viewability as default metric

Google will roll out viewability reporting to all marketers and publishers on DoubleClick and its ad exchange in the coming days. It will soon extend the service to YouTube ads reserved at a premium, or those booked through Google Preferred, a service that pairs advertisers with the top YouTube channels.

Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising for advertising trade body ISBA, said Google should reimburse advertisers for ads which are not viewable.

He added: "There is a discussion to be had around the Media Rating Council’s [standard] that has been implemented in the US. Seeing an ad for two seconds with 50% in view surely is a very low bar to meet when talking about ‘viewable’ impressions."

Neal Mohan, VP of video and display ads for Google, emphasised the company’s plans to make viewability the foundational metric for video ads, stating that it gave marketers full transparency.

He said: "When it comes to impact, being seen is not just important, it’s fundamental. That’s why this time last year, we set a goal for ourselves to help make viewability a common currency across the industry.

"With the confidence that their ads can be seen by a real person, marketers can then go on to strive for - and measure - what really matters, impact and engagement."

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