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Google's Tactical Shift: 'In-Stream' Ads Now 'Skippable Ads' Amidst Placement Controversy

Google renames "in-stream" ads to "skippable ads", potentially sidestepping concerns over ad placements raised by Adalytics.

Google Rebrands 'In-Stream' Video Ads Amidst Controversy

Facing allegations of controversial ad placements, Google has strategically renamed its "in-stream" video ad format to "skippable ads". This move comes on the heels of a report from ad intelligence agency, Adalytics, which suggested significant discrepancies in ad placements via Google's TrueView video campaigns.

Adalytics' report highlighted that a staggering 75% of ads bought through TrueView did not align with the expected standards for TrueView ad placement. Instead of the anticipated premium in-stream slots, ads were allegedly being served on subpar display surfaces, like muted and auto-playing videos on third-party sites. While this might boost impressions, the quality of these engagements could be questionable.

Though Google contested these findings, the tech giant has now rebranded its offering. As outlined by YouTube, the shift from "in-stream ads" to "skippable ads" in Display & Video 360 is essentially a terminological update, with no alterations to the campaign creation or management processes. However, the new moniker does remove the specificity of "in-stream", which could potentially sidestep any complaints regarding ad placements outside this category.

While Google asserts that this rebranding intends to "simplify naming conventions between awareness formats", the timing, aligning closely with the Adalytics controversy, is noteworthy. Further muddying the waters is a looming class-action lawsuit against Google, sparked by the Adalytics report. If proven true, Google might be facing extensive refunds.

The new name does fall in line with the IAB's criteria for in-stream video formats. This alignment could shield Google from additional challenges, especially when it comes to discussions about ad impressions and performance.

Regardless of the reasons driving this change, marketers using Google's platform should take heed of this updated naming convention. The shift, while seemingly semantic, could have broader implications for the digital advertising landscape.