YouTube makes it easier for advertisers to buy top tier UK content

Google is allowing advertisers to more easily purchase top tier content on YouTube in the UK through the launch of its Google Preferred tool.

Google announced the UK launch at an event in London yesterday evening (13 October).
Google announced the UK launch at an event in London yesterday evening (13 October).

The initiative lets brands reserve inventory from the top 5% of YouTube’s most popular channels across categories such as food, music and entertainment. It uses an algorithm that ranks the channels by popularity and engagement, measuring signals such as viewing time, comments, shares and social embeds.

The tool also guarantees that marketers will be able to hit the scale of audience they are targeting.

Google is selling the service as a more “predictable” way to buy its most valuable content similar to how TV media is sold. The search engine hopes the launch goes some way to ease concerns that advertisers were not being given the necessary tools to fully-exploit YouTube content.

Brands spending on digital promotion

Advertisers are spending more to promote their brands online in the UK than on television, according to YouTube, with online video the fastest growing market at 25% year-on-year. Demand for mobile content is fuelling the shift, which led to mobile video spend growing 196 per cent to £63.9m in the first six months of the year, according to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK Digital Ad Spend report.

Eileen Naughton, managing director for UK & Ireland operations and vice president of Google, said: “We have to make it easy for consumers, and for marketers, to find it [engaging channels on YouTube].

“Interestingly, in a recent survey AOL found YouTube to be the most effective online platform when it came to raising awareness and driving purchase decisions.”

The launch follows Google Preferred’s debut in the US six months ago. Google has since labeled it a success as a result of it selling out the first batch of inventory. The shopfront will reopen next year although industry observers say it is difficult to gauge its success to date due to lack of transparency around what content is being sold. YouTube does not publish exactly what channels are included in the service.

Global digital strategy

PepsiCo, which was one of the first to back Google Preferred in the US, said at the same event it believed “strongly” in YouTube. “The success of the Pepsi Max content in countries like the UK and US, as well as other Pepsico brands on YouTube, has changed the way the entire company views digital strategy”, added UK chief marketing officer Sebastian Micozzi.

“In the UK, we are seeing a 43% increase in media ROI as we too, increase our spend on YouTube significantly.”

The UK launch is the latest YouTube effort to compete for the same pot of ad budget usually reserved for TV. The business is on a charm offensive to the advertising industry has seen it introduce mobile formats and tout real-time marketing case studies.

Separately, Twitter has tied with mobile ad firm Amobee to make it easier for brands to target its users. The tie-up uses the ad tech provider’s demand-side platform to reach Twitter users in real-time based on trending interests.

The tool is the latest to offer improved reach at scale on the platform as Twitter steps up plans to leverage its ad inventory. Marketers worldwide are expected to spend nearly $26bn on social media by 2016, according to eMarketer.

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