YouTube Addresses Brand Safety, Viewability Concerns in Pitch to European Advertisers

Platform will highlight brands’ 6-second ads

According to chief business officer Robert Kyncl, YouTube plans to highlight advertisers' best 6-second ads. Getty Images
Headshot of Lauren Johnson

COLOGNE, GERMANY—Yes, marketers, people are seeing your YouTube ads and they’re on brand-safe channels.

That was the message today at Dmexco when YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl played up the platform’s reach with examples like a livestream of this year’s Handball World Championship that was sponsored by German bank DKB. The quarter final was watched by 1 million people in Germany—making it YouTube’s seventh largest livestream to date. He also presented some data about YouTube in Germany, citing June data from a GfK finding that the country had more than 40 million monthly users. While he did not provide an exact number, Kyncl said that watch time with YouTube on TV sets has doubled over the past year.

“There’s a tremendous creative culture in this country and in this continent and thanks to YouTube that creativity is now resonating with audiences throughout the world,” Kyncl said.

The focus on creators comes after hundreds of brands froze their YouTube campaigns earlier this year after discovering that their ads were running next to controversial content. Kyncl addressed that YouTube has some work to do in regaining brands’ trust.

“We work hard every day to earn our advertisers’ and agencies’ trust and make sure that YouTube can be a platform for all partners,” he said. “Digital advertising certainly faces its share of challenges—transparency, accountability and suitability. Those aren’t just challenges unique to the digital world but they are the ones that we need to address.”

He added, “We realize that with scale and the open nature of internet platforms comes both an incredible opportunity and a serious responsibility, so our teams have been working around the clock to make many important changes to ensure your ads show up in the right place.”

YouTube also rolled out new research today, finding that 95 percent of YouTube ads globally meet viewability standards to determine if someone saw ads on the platform’s videos. And the same percentage of ads included sound that consumers heard while watching the ad. The viewability stat is up slightly from 93 percent last year.

New tools within DoubleClick Bid Manager use machine learning to let advertisers optimize their video ads for viewability, specifically for clips that were viewed for at least 10 seconds or a video that met in-view and audibility requirements. The tools are part of Google’s Active View reporting and take the size of a video player, a website’s URL and position on the page to analyze the right bid for each impression. In a blog post, YouTube said that in theory, the new tools will help marketers zero in on improving their videos’ view-through rates.

While DoubleClick Campaign Manager is accredited with the Media Rating Council and requires viewable impressions to be 50 percent in view for two seconds, the platform is currently undergoing an audit to become accredited for video impressions and viewability statistics in AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

Buoyed by the popularity of six-second ads, YouTube is creating a new monthly leaderboard that will feature six-second bumper ads.

“Some brands ask what kind of an impression they can actually make in six seconds but on 300 mobile bumper campaigns that we tested, 90 percent saw lift in ad recall, so clearly it’s working,” Kyncl said. “In just over a year, one in three customers are using bumpers to get their message across on YouTube.”

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.