Today Google announced that they have created Confirming Gross Revenue – a new solution to give ad buyers and publishers a way to verify that there were no hidden fees taken from their transactions within Ads Manager.
View the report. Advertisers can view the new Revenue Verification Report to see the total gross revenue received from a specific publisher. Google says that the ad buyer and media publisher can then come together to verify that the media cost from the buyers’ report matches the gross revenue the publisher received. The idea here is that if the numbers match, the buyer can assume that their full media spend reached the publisher and no hidden fees were taken.
Early testing. Google is testing the new reporting with Display and Video 360, but are collaborating with other demand-side platforms, sell-side platforms, publishers, and agencies to implement similar reporting with other partners.
Thanks, Google? Google claims that (on average) 15% of advertisers’ ad spend is unattributable. They claim that while the Google Ads platform doesn’t take fees, they “can’t speak for other companies in the space.” Google has also participated in industry transparency standards “across buyside and sellside businesses, like ads.txt / app-ads.txt, sellers.json and SupplyChain Object into Ads Data Hub to help marketers using Display & Video 360 see the steps their impressions took before arriving on a publisher’s site.” The objective of these transparency initiatives is to give advertisers better visibility into buying decisions and strengthen fraud detection.
What Google says. “Confirming Gross Revenue is one part of our efforts to address concerns over the lack of transparency that we have heard from publishers, agencies, advertisers and regulators. Over the next few months, we’ll continue to work with the industry on shaping this new solution and, more broadly, initiatives to instill more confidence in online advertising. Bringing greater transparency to advertisers, agencies and publishers is core to our approach. We welcome participation from others who want to work together to advance an ad-supported internet that works for everyone.” Allan Thygesen, President, Americas & Global Partners.
Why we care. Do we? Maybe I’m wrong but I’ve never been fortunate enough to question where my ad dollars are going, and I don’t know any other agencies or advertisers that have. While I don’t agree with some of the websites and platforms my ads end up on, I never considered that mysterious fees were the explanation for any mismatch in revenue reporting.
On the upside, this new report might call out shady behavior of platforms that have been taking fees or a cut of ad spend. It doesn’t hurt to check out the new reports if you use Display or Video 360 and see what information they provide about where your ad spend is going.