MRC's YouTube Audit Takes Aim At Brand Safety Woes

The Media Rating Council (MRC) on Wednesday reported on the status of its audit of measurements released by Google’s YouTube platform, which began in February 2017.

The audit is expected to be completed, and a review delivered, by late third-quarter or early fourth-quarter 2017.

Simply put, MRC is examining YouTube’s third-party integrated measurement reporting -- with the potential end goal of accreditation for YouTube metrics. The audit begins at the source by examining the collection and processing of data shared with third-party measurement vendors.

MRC will first need to understand how closely the data actually reflects real impressions or engagement. MRC’s Viewable Impression Measurement Guidelines will inform this process.

YouTube has faced a number of questions regarding brand safety and ad fraud. MRC’s audit will address these questions head-on, potentially assuaging critics or pushing YouTube to offer more transparency surrounding its ad inventory.

While all of YouTube’s in-stream video inventory and its “TrueView” in-stream ad inventory are covered by the audit, MRC will not measure the accuracy of YouTube’s internally calculated TrueView metrics. These may be included in further audits.

The audit includes individual assessments of the collection and reporting processes by third-party vendors that have standing integrations with YouTube. These include DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, and Moat. While these three measurement firms are accredited by MRC, their integrations with YouTube are not.

Google is already accredited by MRC for a number of its advertising platforms, including viewability metrics in DoubleClick for Publishers, video ad viewability in DoubleClick Campaign Manager and clicks in AdWords.

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