YouTube has made no secret of the fact that it would like to tap into the $75 billion brand marketers spend on TV advertising.
Ahead of its Brandcast showcase this week in New York City, YouTube did a bit of chest thumping about how much time consumers spend watching its video service on TV: 150 million hours a day.
“The YouTube content is actually scaling for TV incredibly well,” said YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl in an interview with Deadline. “It is our fastest growing screen of all screens.”
The Google-owned video service is loath to let an audience go unmonetized, so YouTube announced a coming set of targeting tools for brands and marketers to reach people watching online videos or even traditional TV programming online.
In a couple of months, YouTube said it will add TV screens to the list of devices (computers, mobile phones and tablets) that advertisers can target through AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager.
“We’ve already seen that people react positively to ads on the TV screen,” said Debbie Weinstein, managing director of YouTube global services, in a blog post. “Based on Ipsos Lab Experiments, YouTube ads shown on TV drove a significant lift in ad recall and purchase intent, with an average lift of 47% and 35% respectively.”
For brands chasing cord-cutters, YouTube is introducing a new audience segment within AdWords called “light TV viewers.” This will allow advertisers to reach viewers who watch most of their TV shows online.
YouTube touted the momentum of its live TV service, YouTube TV. Though it hasn’t revealed monthly subscriber numbers, it said the service is now available to more than 85% of U.S. households in nearly 100 markets.
Now, YouTube said advertisers can buy TV inventory through Google Preferred.
Content from some cable networks (not yet named) will be part of the Google Preferred lineup, Weinstein said, so brands can target audiences watching the most popular YouTube content and tradition TV shows in a single campaign.
“As marketers continue to break the silos and think of holistic media plans, we’re excited to enable the opportunity,” Weinstein said in the post. “Because while TV screen viewing is big and growing fast, video is everywhere and the key is connecting with viewers wherever they watch.”
Traditional media players, feeling pressure from their digital rivals’ prowess in programmatic ad buying and audience targeting capabilities, announced earlier this month that NBCUniversal would join Turner, Fox and Viacom in an ad-targeting initiative.
YouTube will likely confront one question at the NewFronts that its old media counterparts won’t: namely, who’s liable for privacy violations of the General Data Protection Regulation — the platform or the advertiser?
Concerns about potential misuse of data may well trump advertiser worries about what video Logan Paul might post next on YouTube.
“The focus on the data safety is a new overlay on top of the systemic brand safety issue that has been haunting YouTube for the last three years,” said Needham & Co. media analyst Laura Martin.