Google's video ads are shortchanging advertisers and failing standards, report claims

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(Image credit: Brett Jordan)

Google's video ads haven't been meeting its own standards and have left paid advertisers shortchanged. That's the outcome of a new report based on research by one company that analyzes ad performance.

According to the report, Google's ads fail its own standards around 80% of the time when running ads on other websites before the page's main video content. Those standards claim that the audio will remain on and that only ads that aren't skipped are paid for.

However, not all of that appears to be happening for ads that are sold in bundles for display both on YouTube and the wider internet.

Failing standards

The Wall Street Journal cites a report by Adalytics that looked into 1,100 brands that had billions of ad impressions between 2020 and 2023. The findings suggest that Google isn't living up to expectations — both of those paying for ads and its own guidelines.

Adalytics claims that ads often play muted or in incorrect places on the web page.

"The firm accused the company of placing ads in small, muted, automatically-played videos off to the side of a page’s main content, on sites that don’t meet Google’s standards for monetization, among other violations," the WSJ reports.

"The Journal independently observed invalid ad placements such as those the research identified, but couldn’t confirm the extent of the phenomenon. Digital ad-buyers and engineers vouched for the research findings," the WSJ adds.

Advertisers are obviously unhappy at the publication of these findings, but Google isn't phased. It told the WSJ that the report “makes many claims that are inaccurate and doesn’t reflect how we keep advertisers safe.”

Predictably, some advertisers believe that they should be compensated for the ads that didn't behave the way they should have.

“I feel cheated,” said Giovanni Sollazzo, founder, chairman, and chief executive of digital-ad agency AIDEM told the report. “What I requested to buy was not what I got. This should entitle me to a refund for invalid traffic.”

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.