MM Awards

Google: A collection of digital stakeholders must work to improve ad viewability standards

Tyrone Stewart

The Google managing director for the UK and Ireland has come out in defence of the company’s record on ad viewability, insisting that all digital economy stakeholders have to work to improve standards, not just one.

Ronan Harris spoke out after the tech giant recently faced criticism from several corners of the industry, including from WPP and Procter & Gamble.

“It’s not down to just one company to set the agenda or set the standards – it’s got to be a collection across media owners, creative and media agencies, and importantly the advertisers themselves, as to what they want to see,” Harris told Marketing Week.

Harris made it clear that, though Google data is verified by third parties, easily transferrable measurement of data was not currently possible – noting that the world is a long way from achieving that ‘utopian idea’.

Neil Eatson, CEO and founder of Appraise Digital, agrees with Harris’ statements but thinks an independent approach to setting standards is required.

“While I completely agree with Google’s comments… it can’t be a collection of different voices from the same industry,” he said. “In getting media owners, creative and media agencies, and advertisers themselves to agree on a set of standards, these companies are essentially agreeing on the answers to their own homework.

“The issue needs someone completely neutral to vet it, protecting not just the advertisers, but also consumers. At a minimum, this needs to be IAB led, if not government led too.

“That’s not to say that agencies don’t have a role to play too. They owe it to their clients to be more transparent about where their adverts are being placed and for how much. Meanwhile, advertisers need to start questioning everything in their technology stack, then they can take back ownership of the problem.”