Written by Alastair Grant, Product Owner
Measuring YouTube Inventory via Ads Data Hub
Ever since Google announced the winding down of third-party pixels on YouTube inventory, one of the most common questions we are asked is: How does this affect our ability to measure the viewability of YouTube campaigns?
Google’s Ads Data Hub (ADH) reporting solution is going to play an essential role in measurement and verification for YouTube going forward. As Google themselves state, “While more than 70 percent of time spent watching YouTube globally occurs on mobile devices, pixels can’t report on the effectiveness of ads that appear in mobile apps.”
After we became a Measurement Partner of Google, we also became one of the earliest adopters of the ADH solution. Meetrics and its clients have been working with this system for 2 years now – focusing on YouTube viewability reporting without the use of pixels. In this article, we’ll try to teach you how YouTube campaigns can be reported via Google’s Ads Data Hub, and share what we’ve learnt so far.
What is Ads Data Hub and how does it work?
ADH is Google’s way of accessing their own cloud-based data solution, BigQuery. ADH is not just for YouTube data, but offers a view across Google’s ad platforms, including the Google Display Network and Google Marketing Platform.
When it comes to YouTube inventory, ADH enables advertisers to grant their measurement vendors (e.g. Meetrics) access to this cloud data, providing “detailed, impression-level data about their media campaigns across devices”. Your Google data is stored in BigQuery, allowing your preferred measurement vendor to analyse the data and put it together in a way that enables you to draw specific insights. You can then use these insights to optimise your own YouTube campaigns.
Google is playing a balancing act between granular data and user privacy – no user-level data is allowed to leave their systems. When querying impression-level data through ADH, results are aggregated to prevent end-users being identified.
If a certain query yielded just a couple of results, savvy companies could then cross-reference this information with their own data and put together usage maps of known users. To counter this, Google has a minimum-aggregation threshold of 50 – any item which results in fewer than 50 unique users is automatically dropped from the results. This has been a big point of learning in our 2 years using ADH. We work with our clients to identify these cases, and customise their reporting output to make sure that they can maximise how much of their campaigns are measured.
What’s the best way to measure my campaigns?
As with any campaign measurement, prior planning is key.
Whether measuring a campaign from Google Ads or DV360, your account needs to be linked to the Meetrics ADH account. This process is easy using the online forms, however it can take a couple of days to establish the linkage. Once you approve the link from your account, you’re free to set-up a measurement with Meetrics from that point forward. As such, it’s best to know which campaigns you wish to measure so that you can ensure the linkage exists before they start.
Google’s Active View reporting and Meetrics’ YouTube Viewability reporting are built on the same technology stack. As such, Meetrics reports against the video viewability definition recommend by the MRC, including time-on-screen numbers and viewable impressions under additional viewability definitions. For more detailed information about what is covered, you can ask your Google rep or our support team.
As discussed previously in this article, highly specific campaign measurements (i.e. campaigns running across many domains, or with few impressions spread across a large number of placements) cannot meet Google’s aggregation requirements if they drop below the 50-unique-user threshold. For best measurement results, we are able to customise your reporting to broaden the search and return those impressions, however it’s always best to run a couple of broader placements than many specific ones.
If you’d like to know more how the choice of placements impacts measurement capabilities, feel free to reach out to us. Our service team is happy to tell you more about verifying your YouTube inventory with Meetrics.