LONDON: Director General of the IPA, Paul Bainsfair has written to the UK chiefs of Google and Facebook to ask them to work with the IPA to bring brand safety, measurement and viewability up to industry standards.

“I cannot emphasise enough, the importance of this request”, Bainsfair wrote.

Writing to Ronan Harris, managing director UK and Ireland at Google, and Steve Hatch, Facebook’s managing director for Northern Europe, Bainsfair called for the pair to ensure “global gold standards” in online ad verification and audience measurement.

Notably, Bainsfair stressed three action points that will enable the delivery of global standards.

First, to address brand safety concerns, YouTube and Facebook should become signatories to the JICWEBS/DTSG Good Practice Principles, which requires the independent verification of brand safety policies and processes within six months.

For video audience measurement, YouTube and Facebook should meet the standards of the industry-owned measurement techniques enabling cross-platform audience measurement.

Lastly, addressing the subject of viewability, Bainsfair calls for the duopoly to use the UK as a ‘test bed’ for delivering online and mobile video ad supply optimised for 100% viewability that is independently verified.  

"Progress is neither fast, nor significant, enough,” Bainsfair wrote in the letter, adding that the UK agency trade body believed “it is incumbent upon the key players in this sector, therefore, to show real commitment to finding solutions to these problems."

A spokesperson for Facebook told Campaign that the network was “engaged in a constructive dialogue” with the IPA. The company argued that it had updated its metrics “to give more clarity and confidence about the insights we provide, including our work with 24 third-party measurement partners who can verify the value we drive for advertisers."

At the beginning of this month, YouTube reported on its progress in the brand safety space, doubling the rate at which it removes inappropriate and extremist videos, with an expensive and well-publicised machine learning system.

A source close to one of the two companies expressed surprise at the IPA’s unusual publication of the letter.

Data sourced from the IPA, JICWEBS, Campaign, WARC; additional content by WARC staff