Google denies ad-fraud claims after a damning research report suggests it inflated video ad views, potentially misleading advertisers. The claim echoes the Facebook video ad scandal of 2018.
The report from Adalytics examines the performance of Google’s TrueView ads, which claim to allow advertisers to only pay for actual views rather than impressions. TrueView ads are served on YouTube videos and across the web—giving users the ability to skip after five seconds.
The report reveals that these skippable ads also appear in a muted auto-playing website on independent websites and mobile apps. Despite displaying as muted, the ads were marked as 100% viewable. It’s a similar scandal to Facebook’s claiming a view lasts three seconds. Great metrics for Google and Facebook on paper—but lacking in real-world results.
The report also showcased how TrueView ads were placed on third-party sites that did not meet quality expectations from those buying the advertisements. Google says it’s the advertisers fault for not limiting the exposure to third-party websites.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said. However, Dr. Augustine Fou says that’s not exactly true. “This is not true when running PMax campaigns. There is no way to opt out of ads running on GVP.”
Many advertisers are now re-examining the role of Big Tech in reaching audiences. Facebook’s video scandal from 2018 brought closer scrutiny to how ad dollars are spent online. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has seen an advertising drop of 59% as advertisers suspend or stop advertising on the platform entirely.
Reddit is having trouble of its own. “Between June 13 and June 23, the average daily visits to Reddit’s ad portal decreased about 20%,” reports TechCrunch on the impact of reddit’s protests and its advertising revenues.