Home The Big Story The Big Story: YouTube’s Proclivity For The Opaque

The Big Story: YouTube’s Proclivity For The Opaque

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Whatever your take on YouTube’s video partner network, one thing’s clear: YouTube is opaque.

Earlier this spring, YouTube made headlines after an Adalytics report showed that marketers were buying unsavory ads with poor performance metrics via its Video Partner network. What initially surprised many industry insiders was the fact that YouTube.com even sold video ads.

That lack of transparency on YouTube’s part extends to how to use its tools and what types of inventory a buyer is purchasing through different campaigns, and even where it runs third-party ad verification.

While Meta clearly communicates details about how to use its platform, understanding new features like YouTube’s video action campaign (a performance advertising product) requires work on the part of buyers, said Strike Social head of strategy Lee Baler, a guest on The Big Story.

“You kind of have to poke about and find things,” he said. “They are wildly inconsistent as to how that information is disseminated to the media buying community.”

For example, YouTube doesn’t allow buyers to opt out of the video partner network for its video action campaigns. While savvy buyers, like Strike Social, had already opted out of using the YouTube network for view-based campaigns, it is forced to spend clients’ money in other places for these performance campaigns.

Besides discussing the Adalytics research and YouTube’s response, we get into another area that lacks transparency: YouTube TV.

The message to buyers about YouTube TV is that it must be bought through programmatic guaranteed at $40 to $50 CPMs. But for several months, buyers (including Strike Social) have noticed placements on places like ESPN pop into a single-digit percentage of their buys, with auctions clearing at a fraction of the price.

Again, YouTube isn’t transparent about what’s going on because it serves ads as it seeks to maintain high CPMs for this inventory.

Pay no attention to the TV inventory hidden behind the curtain, folks.

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