YouTube is closing off access to third-party ad serving and pixel tracking globally, just ahead of the date when the European Union’s sweeping privacy regulation takes effect next month.
“YouTube will no longer support third-party ad serving on reserved buys in Europe beginning May 21, and it will assess whether to extend that policy globally,” a memo obtained by AdExchanger this week stated.
Advertisers who aren’t using DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) to host video are asked to “retraffic their ads” by May 21 “to avoid any downtime in delivery,” according to the memo. Google owns YouTube and DoubleClick.
YouTube will also greatly limit third-party pixel tracking as of that date. The company first announced it would be limiting the use of pixels and cookies last January, the same time it announced YouTube’s access to Google account data for ad targeting.
In the name of GDPR
The memo states that these changes are being made to prepare for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The deadline for GDPR — a sweeping set of new and enhanced data privacy rules for European citizens — is May 25, 2018. Google said that it was evaluating recertification of certain third-party vendors’ pixels.
A Google spokesperson said:
Last year, we announced that we would be limiting the number of vendors that can measure ads performance on YouTube. Now, as part of our GDPR compliance efforts, we are providing additional information about third-party ad measurement and changes to third-party ad serving.
The spokesperson also told Marketing Land:
When the GDPR comes into effect, publishers will need the ability to choose the vendors they work with to measure and serve ads shown on their sites and in their apps. In coming weeks, we will be giving publishers new tools that they can use to choose vendors that have certified they are GDPR-compliant.
Marketers express concern
AdExchanger reports concerns that Google is using GDPR as a cover for favoring its own ad tech. The change would mean DCM will have a lock on serving and tracking ads on YouTube in the EU, and potentially, other regions. Additionally, sources said, Google is keeping third-party pixels from targeting Google audiences using DoubleClick Bid Manager.
Last year, Google introduced its own measurement system for tracking campaigns on cross-device campaigns on YouTube, DoubleClick and Google Display Network called Ads Data Hub, which works with other approved measurement providers such as DoubleVerify, Moat and Integral Ad Science. It provides a paid solution for advertisers to be able to use their preferred measurement and verification provider, but again, it’s a Google solution.