Google and Facebook requested to do more to set “gold standards” in digital advertising

The director of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), Paul Brainsfair, has prompted Google and Facebook to urgently address the issues concerning advertising safety, viewability and measurements. In a formal letter he asked the duopoly to establish worldwide “gold standards” in digital advertising.

Bainsfair explained:

“The internet has evolved into a complex ecosystem, fueled by mobile. Online budgets have exploded from around 16% of total spend (2007) to over 40% today, and online video has now established itself as an effective brand building format alongside television advertising.”

The request contains three core points of action:

Brand Safety

YouTube and Facebook to become signatories to the DTSG Good Practice Principles, which will entail the independent verification of their brand safety policies and processes within six months.

Video Audience Measurement

YouTube and Facebook to meet standards of independent, industry-owned audience measurement, which will enable cross-platform video audience measurement in the UK.

Video Viewability

YouTube and Facebook to use the UK as a test bed for delivering online and mobile video ad supply that is optimised for 100% viewability and which can be independently verified.

Google and Facebook combined represent over 70% of all digital ad spend. Both companies have recently been criticised following investigations into misplaced ads (Google) and measurement issues (Facebook).

According to Bainsfair, “as the two biggest online video suppliers, YouTube and Facebook have a responsibility to ensure the best possible standards for advertising on their platforms.”

Although the IPA acknowledged that both companies had increased their efforts recently to tackle aforementioned concerns, agencies continue to tell the IPA that this progress is not fast enough nor significant.

“We believe it is incumbent upon the key players in this sector, therefore, to show real commitment to finding solutions to these problems,” Bainsfair added.

A Facebook spokesperson responded to the request by stating the company had “already engaged in a constructive dialogue with the IPA and its members on these important topics. We take our commitment to advertisers seriously, and through continued investment and innovation we’re making progress, together with our partners in the industry.”

“In the last few months we’ve announced an extra 3,000 content reviewers to nearly double our existing team, as well as new buying options and controls for advertisers that give choice and transparency over how and where ads appear on the platform. We have also updated our metrics to give more clarity and confidence about the insights we provide, including our work with 24 third-party measurement partners who can verify the value we drive for advertisers.”

Google declined to comment.