In the run-up to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, social video platform YouTube has confirmed it will be shutting down third-party ad serving on reserve buys in Europe, taking effect from May 21.

According to a memo obtained by AdExchanger, advertisers not currently using the platform’s DoubleClick Campaign Manager are being advised to “retraffic their ads” before the deadline.

On the same date, YouTube’s policy to discontinue support for third-party pixel tracking will also take effect which was announced in January 2017, when revealing that it would be integrating Google search data into YouTube’s targeting metrics.

YouTube owner Google claimed that these policies are in preparation for the upcoming GDPR, when it would be reviewing the certification of a number of third-party vendors’ pixels.

“Last year, we announced that we would be limiting the number of vendors that can measure ads performance on YouTube,” a Google spokesperson said to AdExchanger; Now, as part of our GDPR compliance efforts, we are providing additional information about third-party ad measurement and changes to third-party ad serving.”

Currently, these changes will only take place in Europe but Google said it’s assessing on whether to extend the policy globally.

Google’s gain, advertisers’ loss?

For advertisers who relying on third-party ad serving there are concerns about the effects, the restrictions will have on gaining insight as well as tracking conversions and the performance of campaigns.

Some have even criticised that these changes are in fact Google’s way of bolstering its own ad tech services.

“Marketers rely on a competitive ecosystem of ad servers, brand safety, viewability and fraud detection vendors to validate the media they purchase across a range of publisher properties,” said Sizmek’s managing director for DMP business, Joshua Koran to AdExchanger.

“If Google were to exert its dominance under the guise of GDPR, agencies would be forced to choose solely from among the handful of companies Google pre-selected, which undermines the independence of the services the marketer is trying to buy.”

The move from YouTube follows Facebook’s announcement that it will cease using third-party data for targeting ads in efforts to cleaning up its image around data use following the Cambridge Analytica Data Privacy Scandal.