The UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has issued an open-letter to Facebook and Google, demanding urgent action on brand safety, video audience measurement and viewability.
In an open letter published on its website, IPA director-general, Paul Bainsfair, said Google and Facebook have been too slow in tackling the brand safety problem, among other issues.
Brand safety ensures that an ad will not appear in a context that can damage an advertiser's brand.
It wants Facebook and YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006, to become signatories to the JICWEBS/DTSG Good Practice Principles, which requires the independent verification of brand safety policies and processes, within six months.
On video audience measurement, it called on Facebook and YouTube to meet the industry standards such that cross-platform measurements can be achieved.
And on video viewability, it asked that Facebook and YouTube use the UK as a test bed for delivering online and mobile video supply "optimised for 100 per cent viewability that is independently verified".
On the three action points, "progress is neither fast, nor significant, enough," Paul Bainsfair, the director-general of the IPA, said in the letter, which was sent to Google's UK managing director, Ronan Harris, and Facebook's regional director of northern Europe, Steve Hatch.
In an unconventional move, the letter has been publicised, indicating that IPA has lost patience with the two biggest digital media owners and wants to put pressure on them, wrote industry site Campaign Asia. This comes after recent problems of extremist content on YouTube and measurement errors on Facebook.
Below is the edited version of IPA director-general Paul Bainfair's letter to Google and Facebook in the UK:
I am writing today to ask for your urgent action on a number of key points. As you are well aware, online budgets have exploded from around 16 per cent of total spend (2007) to over 40 per cent today.
The internet has evolved into a complex ecosystem with online video now established as an important component of internet time. YouTube and Facebook being the two biggest channels.
The IPA and ISBA represent the UK's biggest advertising agencies and advertisers and in our judgement urgent action is needed to bring the safety, measurement and viewability of your online video up to acceptable industry standards.
The purpose of this letter is to formally call upon Facebook and Google YouTube to work with us to deliver global gold standards in online advertising verification and cross-platform video advertising audience measurement.
The purpose of this letter is to formally call upon Facebook and Google YouTube to work with us to deliver global gold standards in online advertising verification and cross-platform video advertising audience measurement.- Paul Bainfair, IPA director-general
We want you to use the UK as one of the largest, most advanced and concentrated digital media markets in the world as a test bed to drive best in class verification and measurement for brand advertising. And we are calling for you to make the following action points.
The UK has the most robust online brand safety initiative in the world in the form of the Jicwebs DTSG. And yet it has also witnessed the most damaging press coverage for brands in light of this subject.
We are calling upon Facebook and YouTube 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
Recently published evidence derived from the Databank of IPA Effectiveness Awards concludes video advertising, both on and offline, to be the most effective brand-building form.
We are calling upon Facebook and YouTube to meet standards of independent industry-owned audience measurement such that cross platform video audience measurement can be achieved.
The basis of video advertising brand building is that the advertisement is viewable by a human.
The greatest growth rate of video viewership is on mobile, dominated by two businesses. We are calling upon Facebook and YouTube 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.
As to next steps, we would be very happy to meet with you both individually, or together to discuss how we can progress these points and look forward to your constructive and speedy response. I cannot emphasise enough, the importance of this request.