Google has reportedly issued refunds to marketers amid claims it has been selling low-quality ads.
A representative from the search engine confirmed the payments but insisted it was common practice.
The payouts come after Google was accused of violating its own advertising standards approximately 80% of the time, according to an Adalytics study.
Why we care. Advertisers paying premium prices for a service Google has allegedly been failing to deliver will want their ad dollars back. This cash can then be reinvested to improve campaign performance elsewhere.
What has Google said? A spokesperson for Google told Ad Age:
- “As part of ongoing relationship building, we sometimes issue credits to advertisers, this is not uncommon.”
- “As we’ve stated repeatedly, Adalytics used a flawed methodology to make wildly inaccurate claims about Google Video Partners.”
What did the Adalytics study find? The report accused Google of misleading advertisers by:
- Playing premium ads without the promised audio.
- Placing ads in small videos in low-value places such as the side of a page’s main content.
- Placing ads in automatically-played videos.
- Placing ads on websites that don’t meet Google’s standards for monetization.
Companies and organisations impacted include small businesses, Fortune 500 companies and even the U.S. Federal Government. Dozens of marketers have since expressed their regret over purchasing Google’s True View ad product, its primary video ad product, as a result.
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Who is Adalytics? Adalytics is a crowd-sourced advertising performance optimization platform that was set up to review and improve the digital advertising landscape. The company conducted this research by investigating campaigns for more than 1,100 brands that achieved billions of ad impressions between 2020 and 2023.
Deep dive. You can learn more about Adalytics’ investigation by reading its report, Did Google mislead advertisers about TrueView skippable in-stream ads for the past three years? You can also read Google’s ‘Transparency and brand safety on Google Video Partners’ statement which was made in response to the report.
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About the author
Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.