It’s Official: YouTube No Longer Accepts Third-Party Pixels

As of Jan, 14, 2021, all campaigns on YouTube are required to enable Ads Data Hub linking in order to be eligible for third-party measurement.

As of Thursday, all campaigns on YouTube are required to enable Ads Data Hub linking in order to be eligible for third-party measurement.

Any campaign that doesn’t could experience disruptions to their third-party measurement going forward.

In line with Google’s planned timeline for ADH migration and pixel deprecation on YouTube, Google helped a crop of new third-party measurement partners finish migrating their vendor services to ADH.

Comscore, DoubleVerify, Kantar, Integral Ad Science, Nielsen, Oracle’s Moat and Dynata, will now only use ADH for reporting on YouTube campaigns, and their pixels will no longer serve on the YouTube platform.

According to Google, this adds an extra layer of privacy protection for users while still allowing marketers to measure their YouTube campaigns, albeit it through aggregated insights across groups of users. Ads Data Hub is a measurement product from Google that lets advertisers do cross-device measurement and attribution in an ostensibly privacy-safe fashion without relying on pixels.

Google first announced in 2017 that it would no longer support third-party cookies and pixels on YouTube, and introduced ADH as an alternative to accommodate campaign measurement for YouTube campaigns.

These vendors first started working on the migration in Oct. 2019 and now join a bunch of other vendors who have already gone through the process, including Adform, C3 Metrics, Extreme Reach, Flashtalking, Innovid and Sizmek.

Advertisers can use approved third-party measurement partners to measure and report on audience reach, brand lift, viewability and other campaign metrics on YouTube through ADH.

But one of the biggest gripes advertisers have about Ads Data Hub is that the data can never leave that environment, which makes it impossible for buyers to independently verify Google’s aggregated attribution and analytics.

Although that remains the case, Prema Sampath, group product manager for analytics, insights and measurement at Google, noted in a blog post that third-party measurement providers that migrated their reporting to ADH for YouTube will also seek Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for their Ads Data Hub-based reporting.

The MRC will verify that the specialized API connecting the measurement provider to YouTube works, that it’s maintained over time and that it enables the calculation of standard metrics.

But advertisers will also have to trust that the modeling is sound and that the reporting they’re getting through ADH is accurate.

In other news, Google completed an MRC audit of its own for Ads Data Hub on Thursday, which is now accredited for its ability to filter sophisticated invalid traffic and to measure rendered and viewable video ad impressions and TrueView views generated through the ADH user interface and API, which serve as the intermediary for writing queries to access aggregated Google ad data.

The accreditation covers desktop, mobile web and in-app for YouTube and Google video partner ads on Google Ads, DV360 and YouTube Reserve, and includes the processes that ADH uses to match unique identifiers.

Ads Data Hub is the first data clean room to get accreditation from the MRC.

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