Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
Google accused of breaking its own promises with YouTube ads
Google accused of breaking its own promises with YouTube ads

Google has seemingly been violating its own ad policies for YouTube, making promises to advertisers that are going unfulfilled according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal this week highlighted research from Adalytics, a firm focused on helping brands to analyze their ads and where they appear online. The firm accuses Google of running YouTube ads in violation of the company’s own policy and promises.

Google promises advertisers that YouTube ads will run on “high-quality” sites, ahead of video content, with audio turned on, and also with ads that only charge if the viewer doesn’t skip the ad. Adalytics claims that this criteria isn’t met 80% of the time, with ads being played with audio off in small pop-up windows aside from the main content, and also on websites that don’t meet Google’s bar for quality. Data was gathered to show this over the course of 2022 and 2023 from more than 1,100 brands’ ads and “billions” of ad impressions.

If true, this is certainly a major loss for advertisers. YouTube ads are considerably more expensive for advertisers versus traditional advertising, but by placing these ads in a way that doesn’t match Google’s promise, the company is effectively grossly overcharging for the ads. The global chief media officer for UM Worldwide called the practice an “unacceptable breach of trust by YouTube” and called on Google to issue refunds.

Google, though, denies the claim, and says that the “overwhelming majority” of video ads are served on YouTube. In a blog post on The Keyword, the company expands:

The report wrongly implies that most campaign spend runs on GVP rather than YouTube. That’s just not right. The overwhelming majority of video ad campaigns serve on YouTube. Video advertisers can also run ads on GVP, a separate network of third-party sites, to reach additional audiences, if it helps them meet their business objectives. Say, for example, you are a gaming advertiser. You might want to reach people on YouTube who love gaming but also on sites and apps that cater to those groups. While only a small percentage of video ads appear on GVP, it’s effective: we’ve seen adding GVP to YouTube campaigns increases reach by over 20% for the same budget.

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