Google submits YouTube to Media Ratings Council audit

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Google has committed to having YouTube's metrics audited by the Media Rating Council.

The MRC will audit the way three independent measurement companies, Metrics, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify, collect viewability data on YouTube, Google announced in a blog post. 

The audit will validate that data collection, aggregation and reporting of served video impressions, viewable impressions, related viewability statistics and general invalid traffic across desktop and mobile for each integration adheres to MRC and IAB standards.

"Google’s announcement that they are undertaking an independent audit of their third party viewability reporting integrations is a positive step forward for marketers," said Bob Liodice, president and chief executive, Association for National Advertisers, in a statement provided by Google.

Liodice added: "At the ANA, our goal is to create transparency for the advertising supply chain. This action from Google today demonstrates their commitment to partnering with us to deliver this goal."

Google said it already has several accreditations for DoubleClick and is fully accredited for video impressions and viewability statistics for desktop web, mobile web and mobile app in DoubleClick Campaign Manager. It is currently seeking accreditation for video impressions and viewability statistics and GIVT detection for display and video ads. 

According to Babak Pahlavan, senior director of product management, analytics solutions at Google who authored the post, Google has been working with the MRC for more than a decade.

"Google's commitment to MRC's initiatives has been unwavering over time, and their participation in industry standards projects has been helpful," said George Ivie, chief executive and executive director fo the Media Rating Council. "We look forward to working on these new audits and expanding the industry's trust as it relates to YouTube's third-party integrations and DoubleClick Bid Manager."

ISBA's director general Phil Smith welcomed the move as a "step in moving towards common standards of measurement for the industry".

"ISBA and its members are encouraged by this and will follow developments closely in the coming months," added Smith.

Both YouTube and Facebook have come under fire for their "walled garden" status as neither party have fully opened up to third-party tracking codes.

Recently, YouTube's walled-garden status has been criticised as a reason for the digital ads appearing on videos with extremist views

The platform has also had to discontinue support of its top-earning influencer, PewDiePie due to anti-semitic videos

YouTube is in an arms race with Facebook to try and please both advertisers and users. Last week, Campaign broke the news that YouTube plans to discontinue 30-second unskippable ads from next year, a move aimed at improving user experience.

Conversely, Facebook has decided to please advertisers, and possibly annoy its users by turning sound on by default on in-feed videos as users scroll past them. 

The Media Ratings Council has been gaining recognition as an accreditation agency. Recently, ad fraud verification company Adloox announced it had achieved global accreditation across 30 MRC-certified and classified categories of ad fraud.

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