YouTube courts advertisers with promise of better targeting

YouTube wants to make it easier for brands to serve up more relevant and personalised ads and measure their offline impact.

youtube

YouTube is launching a range of new tools for advertisers as it looks to convince more marketers to spend their budgets on the video platform and put the brand safety controversy behind it.

As Advertising Week New York kicks off today (25 September), YouTube is courting brands with updates that it claims will make advertising on the platform more relevant and personalised, and make it easier to measure their offline impact.

“This is going to make it easier for brands to have even more relevant and personalised campaigns that really match the intentions of users. That will continue to grow the impact of the advertising on their platform because it gives people a better experience,” Tara Walpert Levy, vice president of agency and media solutions at Google, tells Marketing Week.

The first update brings ‘Custom Affinity Audiences’ to YouTube, meaning brands can use intent signals from search or the types of apps users have downloaded to make their video ads more effective. So, for example, a consumer that searches for local ski resorts could see an ad for ski clothes on YouTube. It claims that in tests the change drove 20% higher ad recall and 50% higher brand awareness.

Two of the launches relate to making it easier to develop creative for YouTube. The ‘Director Mix’ tool aims to make it simpler for brands to create hundreds of different pieces of creative that can be personalised to a particular consumer or the content they are watching.

It lets marketers upload multiple aspects of an ad – for example different footage, copy or voiceovers – and the tool will then create the ads.

The second tool enables video ad sequencing, so a brand can show a viewer three different ads in a particular order to build a story over time and increase the frequency they might see a brand without “annoying people”.

And lastly, YouTube is hoping to make it easier for brands to measure the offline impact of advertising on the video platform using Nielsen MPA (matched panel analysis).

Walpert Levy adds: “We want to focus people on the fact that it is intention and understanding that intention, and delivering a message against intention, that drives attention and results.”

YouTube has had a difficult year, with its standing among advertisers taking a hit following the brand safety scandal and the decision by a number of brands to pull advertising. However, Walpert Levy says most marketers have been “really happy” with the “proactive” steps YouTube has taken to address their concerns.

Yet she admits there is “always more to do”. She thinks that while YouTube is “leading the market” in areas such as viewability, there is still more it can do to ensure advertising is not shown next to egregious content.

“The question of how you ensure every brand is on exactly the content that they want to be on is a continuous process, because every brand has a different version of that and the amount of content out there is more than ever before. We’ve made huge progress and had great feedback on that progress but we know there’s a lot more room to go,” she says.

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