YouTube Expands Its Measurement Program With 5 New Partners, Bumps Heads With OpenSlate

YouTube has broadened its measurement partner program and made it easier for buyers to find the right service provider for their needs.

On Monday, YouTube added Channel Factory, Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify, Sightly and VuePlanner to the program. Existing partners include Pixability, Zefr, Tubular Labs and Wizdeo.

But OpenSlate, which had been a member of the program since 2017, is no longer listed. The brand safety measurement company is apparently at a contractual impasse with Google.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday that OpenSlate declined to sign a new agreement with Google. OpenSlate believes the terms of the contract would bar it from reporting to clients when ads ran against sensitive content on YouTube – such as hate speech, profanity, illegal substance use and violence – without Google’s approval.

“Google is a valued partner and we endeavor to resolve our differences," OpenSlate CEO Mike Henry said in a statement provided to AdExchanger.

OpenSlate is deeply embedded with the buy side and works with numerous agency holding companies, including GroupM, to verify brand safety for YouTube videos.

The YouTube Measurement Program launched in 2016 to standardize how third parties use data from YouTube’s data API to serve their clients and ensure its accuracy. All participants must undergo an audit and recertification process quarterly.

“We’re committed to helping advertisers and agencies make informed decisions about their campaigns on YouTube,” a company spokesperson told AdExchanger.

The original five members (including OpenSlate) were initially all lumped together. Starting Monday, partners will be classified and sortable based on three categories: brand suitability and contextual targeting, brand safety reporting and content insights. Brand safety reporting is a new addition for the program.

The time was ripe for a revamp, said David George, CEO of Pixability, one of the first companies to join in 2016.

“Simply put, there’s demand in the market from brands and agencies that want to work with third parties,” George said.

YouTube is also growing by leaps and bounds, both in terms of engagement and ad revenue. Although YouTube is experiencing significant declines in CPMs – around 28% in some cases due to coronavirus-related volatility – YouTube drove $15 billion in 2019 ad revenue for Alphabet.

“For a platform that generates over 500 hours of new content every minute, it makes sense that they are constantly evaluating the efficiency of their programs,” said Tony Marlow, CMO at Integral Ad Science.

IAS has been providing brand safety verification on YouTube since 2018, but that service wasn’t nested within the measurement partner program until now. Bringing this use case into the fold and clarifying the nomenclature simplifies the process of finding and selecting a partner and makes it easier for brands to understand which vendors offer what services.

The program also provides participating partners with early access to alpha and beta programs and additional product resources.

“There is an undercurrent of technical support we get through the program,” said Theresa Go, Pixability’s VP of platform partnerships. “We’re able to leverage Google to make sure we’re providing the best products we can in the market.”

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