YouTube: se­ri­ous about fake views

The video-shar­ing site’s owner, Google, prom­ises to re­view video views in an at­tempt to be­come more trans­par­ent

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

Google is get­ting se­ri­ous about its video of­fer­ing on YouTube, strik­ing deals with part­ners and in­vest­ing in its own con­tent. Cats on pianos are so last year – the push is now on con­tent with which se­ri­ous brands might want to be as­so­ci­ated. But if YouTube is to be taken se­ri­ously as an ad medium, it knows the prob­lem of fake views needs to be ad­dressed.

There are myr­iad ways to in­crease view­ing num­bers on YouTube videos. Some are fair enough – such as seed­ing videos on blogs with mil­lions of fol­low­ers – while oth­ers are less so, in­clud­ing us­ing bots to achieve clicks.

Now, Google has pledged to pe­ri­od­i­cally re­view the num­ber of views that videos re­ceive, “re­mov­ing fraud­u­lent views as new ev­i­dence comes to light”. Ac­cord­ing to the soft­ware en­gi­neer Philipp Pfeif­f­en­berger, this is likely to af­fect only a “minis­cule frac­tion” of videos on YouTube.

But it is not just the pop mu­sic in­dus­try and con­tent cre­ators that try to game the sys­tem by in­flat­ing view­ing num­bers through du­bi­ous meth­ods to drive more ad rev­enue. Brands have also been ac­cused of re­sort­ing to ex­otic meth­ods to in­flate their views as they seek to boost the vi­ral­ity of their cam­paigns.

Robin Grant, the global man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of We Are So­cial, says there truly is a seedy side to the seed­ing in­dus­try, with some agencies us­ing un­der­hand ways to boost view­ing fig­ures.

“The clam­p­down is a good thing. YouTube has turned a blind eye to it for too long,” he says. “Mar­keters take the easy route to views by pay­ing the seed­ing agencies to make their videos vi­ral. They should re­alise that there is no short­cut to vi­ral suc­cess other than cre­ativ­ity.”

If Google’s clam­p­down means brands reg­is­ter fewer views on their ads, they will be forced to work more closely with the video plat­form.

Un­ruly, which claims it gets videos “tracked, watched and shared for top brands” through a global plat­form for so­cial video mar­ket­ing, has cre­ated a doc­u­ment called the “so­cial video code of con­duct”. Au­thored with the In­ter­net Ad­ver­tis­ing Bureau, it aims to “en­sure trans­parency in the cat­e­gory”.

Un­ruly’s co-founder and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Sarah Wood, says: “For paid me­dia, we would al­ways ad­vise brands, whether they’re work­ing with us or other video-dis­tri­bu­tion plat­forms, to use third-party track­ing on video cam­paigns so they can be con­fi­dent about view va­lid­ity, brand safety and au­di­ence ver­i­fi­ca­tion.”

And it’s not just YouTube. Ian Ed­wards, the head of strat­egy at Vizeum UK, points to Face­book farms that boost ‘likes’ as an­other wor­ry­ing ex­am­ple of the fak­ery that is un­der­min­ing the web as an ad­ver­tis­ing plat­form. He adds that agencies of­ten ad­vise clients to in­vest 8 per cent of their TV budget in video on de­mand, in line with es­ti­mates of the share of commercial im­pacts made by VoD. But clients are wise to be cau­tious. “The hor­ror sto­ries are be­com­ing more wide­spread,” Ed­wards warns.

YouTube…ways of in­creas­ing views in­clude seed­ing videos on blogs and get­ting clicks from bots

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.