YouTube to end support for third-party pixels early 2020

Support will end once Nielsen, comScore and other measurement system integrations with Ads Data Hub are complete.

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Google launched Ads Data Hub in 2017 to support cross-device campaign measurement across its systems without the use of pixels — YouTube, Google Ads and Display & Video 360.

It has been working with third-party measurement companies to migrate their services into Ads Data Hub. YouTube said Wednesday it expects those migrations to be completed early next year. At that time, it will no longer allow advertisers to use third-party pixels on YouTube.

Ads Data Hub pulls in YouTube campaign data from Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and YouTube and matches it with customer data from CRM, DMP or other sources pulled into Google’s BigQuery data warehouse. It then analyzes and processes that data and feeds insights back to the customer.

Why we should care

Advertisers can continue to work with the third-party measurement companies currently integrating their systems with Ads Data Hub: Nielsen, comScore, DoubleVerify, Dynata, Kantar and Integral Ad Science. Google says this offers independent verification, yet those vendors are still reliant on Google-supplied data for measurement. This has been a frustration for advertisers who have been pushing Google (and Facebook) to support truly independent tracking for measurement and verification.

Pixels, used to set cookies in browsers, have been used for years to track and measure digital advertising performance. However, cookies aren’t effective at measuring performance when users bounce around their various devices, and they don’t work in mobile apps. YouTube says these limitations and lack of privacy controls in many pixels are why it’s moving to its own system.

The launch of Ads Data Hub also raised concerns that it gives Google even more leverage in the ecosystem as advertisers feel pressure to house and analyze their data in the system.

More on the news

  • YouTube says it has invested in infrastructure improvements to Ads Data Hub to make it “faster, easier to use and more reliable.”
  • At the time Google teased the launch of Ads Data Hub it announced it was connecting Search and YouTube data for targeting and measurement.
  • In April 2018, ahead of GDPR, YouTube stopped supporting third-party ad serving, cutting off access to independent firms like AppNexus.
  • In May 2018, Google stopped allowing advertisers and agencies who use its data transfer service to use DoubleClick IDs to measure cross-platform performance, citing privacy concerns.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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