Advertising industry calls for more action from "digital duopoly" Google and Facebook to address online video issues

William Turvill
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The IPA has written to both YouTube owner Google and Facebook (Source: Getty)

The advertising industry is calling for “digital duopoly” Google and Facebook to work harder to clean up their act in the online video space.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair has called on the online giants to work with his organisation and ISBA, which represent advertisers and agencies, to fight brand safety issues. The companies have come under pressure this year after it emerged that high-profile brands were being advertised next to extremist content.

Read more: Q&A: Why are brands pulling their advertising from Google?

In letters to both YouTube owner Google and Facebook, Bainsfair called on the companies to become signatories to the industry-recognised DTSG good practice principles. This would entail an independent verification of the firms’ brand safety policies and processes within six months.

The IPA also wants Google and Facebook to brush up in the area of video audience measurement amid concerns about the reliability of their viewing metrics. Bainsfair has called for them to “meet standards of independent, industry-owned audience measurement, which will enable cross-platform video audience measurement in the UK”.

He also wants the US firms to use the UK “as a test bed for delivering online and mobile video ad supply that is optimised for 100 per cent viewability and which can be independently verified”.

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

“Whilst we acknowledge that small steps towards addressing recent concerns have been taken, our advertisers and agencies are increasingly telling us that this progress is neither fast, nor significant, enough.

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

A Facebook spokesperson said:

We are 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.

Read more: Newspaper boss confident ad "duopoly" will be pressured into change

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