Your Online Ad Updates, 10th September 2019


The news this week finds Google publishing its latest guidance notification on the sunsetting of its average position metrics on the 30th of September, Google launches “experimental” plug-in to combat shady advertising, Twitter launches new biddable short video service and more…

Google Introduces Brand New Project To Fight “Shady Online Advertising”

Google has unveiled a new open-source browser extension – which is still in the experimental stage – that’s designed to improve transparency around online advertising. This is to be accomplished by identifying and displaying key metrics about ads that are shown within the browser environment.

According to ThreatPost:

“The browser extension is an integral part of a new Google initiative announced Thursday to develop a set of open standards, dubbed Privacy Sandbox. The standards aim to help internet browsers strike a delicate balance between protecting web users’ privacy – while also ensuring that advertisers who collect browser-based data aren’t being completely shut out.”

“To aid with this dialog and help explore the feasibility of this proposal, Google will launch an early, experimental, open-source browser extension that will display information for ads shown to a user and will work across different browsers,” said Google in its proposal.

“We plan to start with the ads that Google shows on our own properties and on the properties of our publishing partners. We will also be providing open protocols to enable other advertising companies to use the browser extension in order to disclose similar types of information to their users, if they choose,” it stated.

Facebook Playable Ads Preview for Mobile App Launched

Facebook have unveiled a new resource for digital marketers. The Playable Ads Preview tool for mobile app developers which will provide a digital space to test and validate ad content for Playable Ads.

The new resource will test ads against Facebook’s own criteria for Playable Ad content distribution. The tool kit will also verify if the “call to action” dynamics of the Playable Ad have been implemented in-line with Facebook guidelines. This will be done by a “verified green tick” or a warning highlight key issues with the Playable Ad.

According to Search Marketing Land:

“Marketers involved with promoting mobile apps rely on Facebook’s Playable Ads to win more app installs and engagement with users. The ability to test the ad’s assets — including the call-to-action implementation — will be a big time saver.

And because the tool can be used by anyone involved in the creation of the Playable Ad — not just the person responsible for uploading it to Facebook — developers who may work separately from the marketing team will be able to test and preview their work before handing the final product over to the person in charge of running mobile app ad campaigns.”

Twitter Launches “Six Second Viewable Video Ad Bids”

Companies who publish 15 second (or shorter) video ads on the Twitter platform (who get people to view their videos for at least six seconds) will only be paying for ad viewership post 50% in-view, according to a new scheme launched by Twitter.

According to Search Marketing Land:

“Twitter called it a “Flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

This new six-second video ad bidding option takes a page from YouTube’s 6-second bumper ads but offers the flexibility of running longer creatives. It should appeal to brands focused on substantive view rates.

“This six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%,” said Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, who had early access to the video ad bid option.

The End of Targeted Ads on YouTube Kids Videos

Google’s continuous regulatory woes has found YouTube in the firing line. The company plans to end targeted advertising on all YouTube videos that are aimed at children. The company understands that whilst “YouTube for Kids” is the primary vehicle for YouTube-safe content for children, they realise parents use their own YouTube content. This creates a problem for Google.

According to Bloomberg:

“YouTube officials are finalizing plans to end “targeted” advertisements on videos kids are likely to watch, according to three people familiar with the discussion. The move could immediately dent ad sales for the video giant — though not nearly as much as other proposals on the table.

The Federal Trade Commission is looking into whether YouTube breached the Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA). The agency reached a settlement with YouTube, but has not released the terms. It is not clear if YouTube’s changes to ad targeting are a result of the settlement. The plans could still change, said the people, who asked not to be identified citing an open investigation.

A spokeswoman for YouTube declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the FTC declined to comment. The agency is expected to levy a multimillion-dollar fine.

Since targeted, or “behavioral” ads, rely on collecting information about the viewer, COPPA effectively bars companies from serving them to children under 13 without parental permission. These commercial messages that rely on mountains of digital data, such as web-browsing cookies, are integral to the business of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, YouTube’s owner.”

Average Position “Sunset” Beginning September 30th – What You Need to Know?

Google announced back in February 2019 that it intended to remove the Average Position metric from Google Ads starting from the week commencing September 30th 2019. What will this mean for digital marketers?

Google recommends using Search Top Impression Rate and Search Absolute Top Impression rate metrics going forward. Google believes these metrics reflect the “actual placement of you ad on the page, rather than the position of your ad compared to others”. This gives it a more valuable ad ROI feedback.

According to Google:

“As a result of this change, the following will be disabled starting the week of 30 September 2019: 

  • Rules using average position
  • Custom columns using average position
  • Saved reports that filter on average position
  • Saved filters with average position

If you have Google Ads scripts that use average position, we recommend that you review them to ensure that they’ll continue working as intended.

The average position metric will also be removed from the following: 

  • Saved column sets
  • Saved reports that use the average position column, but don’t filter on it
  • Scorecards that use average position in dashboards

 If you use ValueTrack parameters, please note that the {adposition} parameter will begin returning an empty string starting the week of 30 September 2019.”


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Mike Knight