Alec Berntson, senior product manager, Google, USA and Daniel Slotwiner, director – advertising research, Facebook USA discussed issues related to measurement, accountability and transparency on day three of the I-Com Global Summit.
The session was moderated by George Ivie, CEO, MRC USA who gave context about the topic.
"The media rating council audits companies like Nielsen, Comscore etc. Two years ago, we started auditing large digital platforms. Google and FB have both stepped up and engaged in certain types of auditing. We measure, try to validate traffic and look at fraud. We are also trying to audit brand safety and third party audience measurement on those platforms."
Ivie then asked the panelists on how their respective companies are audited.
Berntson said, "We believe that transparency is really important. The standards we are audited against are as per industry standards. After the audits, the outputs are seen by all members."
Slotwiner added, "For us, the audits have additional benefits. It helps us being consistent across our platforms. In a world that’s evolving so fast with new standards, it helps."
While the executives part of the panel belonged to the USA, the duo then discussed how does this impact people outside of the country.
Slotwiner stated, "We build centralised, global platforms. It’s very important to do this because our systems are global. It ensures we have to maintain our performance globally and also contributes to the consistency that advertisers want. There maybe some areas where localisation is an issue – that kind of compliance issue is something we have to look out for, but for the most part, global audits are just more efficient."
Berntson echoed his views. "Our systems are highly centralised. We have a central team that writes the code and it’s deployed across data centres in the world. We are using almost the same measurement across all markets."
Ivie then asked the duo about a concern most advertisers have - who actually saw their ad and the frequency of those people.
Google's Berntson said, "We partner very closely with vendors like Nielsen and Comscore. We are actually live with these guys for YouTube and other platforms. The capabilities we have are in access of what people think and our partnership with these vendors will only get stronger. Nielsen Total Ad Ratings does TV and digital ad duplication and we are live with that in the USA. This type of measurement is difficult, but we are doing it and look to following it across the world."
Slotwiner gave Facebook's point-of-view. "Third party measurements are extremely important. We have 40 such relationships. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The third parties need our participation and their participation raises the bar on measurement. These third party measurement firms actually use our first party measurement tools a lot too."
The talk was concluded with a discussion about brand safety and the duo explained how this is top-of-mind for both.
Slotwiner said, "We are committed to transparency regarding content on our platform and removing the content if need be. When it comes to the advertising frame work for brand safety, I don’t think it’s developed yet. Some third party auditors are good at it and tell us that advertisers won’t want to be next to some content. But, when you think about the scale of this it’s pretty difficult for a third-party to work on this, so we have to figure out how this evolves."