Google have stopped third-party measurement on kids’ content on YouTube

Google have just updated their YouTube advertising policy, restricting advertisers’ abilities to measure performance across Made for Kids (MFK) content on the platform.

Following YouTube’s $170m fine last year for breaching COPPA by collecting and tracking personal details of minors without parental consent, creators of kids’ content have been forced to mark their content as MFK or risk facing up to a $40,000 fine per video.

The latest tightening by Google prohibits any ads that are being tracked by third-parties from running across MFK content. While this is a positive step towards protecting children’s data collection online, this will have implications for advertisers and agencies looking to engage with younger audiences on the platform.

Their updated policy means that, moving forward, no tech outside of Google’s will be able to measure or verify delivery across kids’ content, since videos with third-party trackers will only be able to run across non-MFK videos. While agencies will still be able to report on performance using Google’s measurement tools, it certainly raises the question of why Google are continuing to measure performance on kids’ YouTube content while no other companies can.

While MFK content is now the first YouTube content that third-party companies can no longer track, with Google announcing that they will be completely phasing out third-party cookies on Chrome, this sentiment will be extending to most of the internet over the next two years. This Google-only measurement system is a taste of what’s to come for the wider market.

However, advertisers are far from the only group that will be impacted by the latest update. In fact, there’s a community that will feel the squeeze even more; the kids’ content creators themselves.

By marking their content as MFK, content creators had already prevented all behaviourally targeted ads (where an advertiser is targeting a specific audience demographic) from appearing across their content, meaning they have only been able monetise ads from campaigns with the loosest targeting, probably to the obliviousness of the advertiser.

Due to the latest policy update, the pool of remaining advertisers running on the creators’ channels will shrink much further, given that the overwhelming majority of non-kids’ campaigns will be using third-party tools to verify performance.

Generation Media will continue to use all the tools available to best report on campaign performance as accurately and diligently as possible. Nevertheless, this is an interesting development and certainly something for advertisers be aware of.