Transparency and brand safety on Google Video Partners

Brands care deeply about where their ads are placed and so do we. A recent report by a third party used unreliable sampling and proxy methodologies and made extremely inaccurate claims about the Google Video Partner (GVP) network.

We want to set the record straight about the options available to advertisers and the investments we make in ensuring brands can reach high-quality audiences across this partner network.

GVP is an effective complement to YouTube ad campaigns. 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.

Advertisers are in control. When advertisers create video ad campaigns, they can clearly see that their ads may run on third-party sites via GVP during the campaign setup. We offer the option to opt out at any time. They can also decide where their content may appear. Advertisers can exclude specific websites and URLs along with entire topics or apps they wish to avoid when running ads. We also share real-time campaign reporting with our advertisers. This means partners can see where their spend is going, including how much is serving on YouTube vs. third-party sites or apps. Advertisers can always update their campaign settings based on that information.

Ad inventory across the Google Video Partner network is more than 90% viewable. This is well above industry norms. The claims in the third-party report simply aren’t right. Put simply, over 90% of ads on GVP are visible to people across the web — and advertisers are only paying for ads when they are viewed. We use real-time ad quality signals to determine if people are present and paying attention that help us decide whether to serve a video ad in a Google Video Partner site or app. Those signals include viewability, the size and position of the player and whether people are engaging with the ads.

In addition to the high bar we set on YouTube, we have strict policies that all third-party publishers, including Google Video Partners, must follow. We actively enforce these policies. Our policies prohibit made for advertising (MFA) content. For example, publishers are prohibited from engaging in disruptive, invasive or deceptive ad-serving practices simply for the purposes of generating ad revenue. This includes serving ads on hidden browsers, pages with more ads than content or ads that lead to accidental clicks. To give you a sense of how serious we are about this, in 2022 we stopped serving ads on more than 143,000 sites for violating our policies.

We offer third-party validation for ads running on Google Video Partners content. We partner with outside organizations to help us ensure publishers are complying with our policies. Google Video Partners supports independent, third party verification from DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, and Moat for viewability and invalid traffic. These partnerships, combined with the work we already do internally to enforce our policies, give advertisers reassurance about their ad placements.

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