Three Takeaways from the YouTube/NFL Streaming Deal

Three Takeaways from the YouTube/NFL Streaming Deal

YouTube

While all eyes were on Amazon’s streaming deal to broadcast NFL Thursday Night Football, YouTube waltzed in and pulled off an upset. YouTube signed a seven-year deal worth an average price of $2 billion a year to secure rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket franchise.

This is a big move for YouTube. Sunday Ticket is a subscription-only package that allows customers access to all Sunday afternoon games for out-of-market teams. DirecTV currently pays the NFL an average fee of $1.5 billion per season for both residential and commercial rights. Its deal expires after the current season.

Sunday games represent peak prime football. NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF), by contrast, typically features subpar games largely because the Thursday timing does not give teams enough time to prepare after their previous Sunday games. Amazon’s ratings for TNF broadcasts have been spotty although four games rank among the Top 100 most viewed telecasts of 2022 according to Nielsen.

YouTube reportedly bested Amazon, Apple, and ESPN to secure the rights. YouTube will offer Sunday Ticket as an add-on to YouTube TV (a subscription streaming service that lets you watch live TV from major broadcast and popular cable networks) and in the video platform’s main app through a service called Primetime Channels that allows viewers to subscribe to individual channels.

Here are some takeaways from the agreement:

  • The deal is another sign that connected TV (CTV) is the future. For the first time, streaming viewership topped cable in 2022, and this trend is not going to reverse course as cord cutting continues. As reported in Axios recently, traditional television companies and major media firms are bracing for further declines in the ad market and yet another increase in cord-cutting this year. “The migration of the country’s biggest sports rights packages from linear TV networks to streaming will expedite the inevitable collapse of the cable bundle,” Axios noted. At True Interactive, we believe it’s important that businesses understand the growth of advertising on streaming platforms in context of the rise of connected TV. If you’ve not done so already, take a closer look at why connected TV is growing and how it could expand your audience. (True Interactive can help you with that.) Connected TV is enjoying 60-percent growth, driven by a public’s appetite for streaming that continues unabated. Connected advertising is similar to linear TV advertising because both formats rely obviously on video. But connected TV is different in many important ways. For one thing, advertisers need to understand how to create video content that will reach viewers across a variety of viewing devices in addition to TV screens, and connected TV ads are competing with multiple content streams. You can watch Amazon’s TNF on a laptop, mobile phone, or gaming console with multiple screens open. The same will hold true for watching NFL Sunday Ticket via YouTube TV. YouTube offers a number of connected TV ad units including its Masthead ad format. YouTube has added more CTV formats recently and will certainly offer more as its competitors such as Amazon do the same.

  • This a victory for first-party data, which is the information that businesses collect directly from their customers. YouTube will use first-party data to sell targeted ads to help drive revenue for the games. Right now, third-party audience data is withering away thanks to Apple’s and Google’s privacy measures. Businesses that figure out how to monetize first-party data enjoy an enormous advantage. YouTube is the second-most popular search platform in the world (behind Google). The company will be well positioned to us first-party data to sell targeted ads to NFL viewers.

The 2023-24 NFL season seems a long way off. YouTube still needs to deliver on investor expectations for parent company Alphabet between now and then. Look for YouTube to expand even more into the lucrative live sports field, which is still up for grabs among streaming platforms. Meanwhile, Alphabet’s next earnings announcement is February 7, 2023. Let’s see how YouTube’s advertising revenue delivers.

Contact True Interactive

True Interactive can help you navigate the connected TV landscape. Our services range from media strategy and planning to automated performance reporting. Learn more about our services here, and contact us to learn more.

Why YouTube Is Turning to Shorts for Social Commerce

Why YouTube Is Turning to Shorts for Social Commerce

YouTube

Short-form video is an important battleground for brands and consumers right now. TikTok really changed the game for video content creation by inspiring millions of people to create TikTok videos that typically last anywhere from 10 seconds to 60 seconds. Since then, a host of imitators have appeared, including Meta’s Reels on Facebook and Instagram; and YouTube Shorts.

Many businesses have quickly cracked the code for creating short-form video, and everyday users continue to up the ante, too, which has accelerated the rise of the creator economy, or everyday creators who monetize their content with the help of the host app.

Short-form video is also rapidly evolving as a format for creating ads, free content, and shoppable experiences. The latest example: YouTube Shorts is expanding shopping features.

What Is YouTube Shorts?

Shorts is a feature available to YouTube users. With Shorts, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds, similar to how TikTok and Instagram Reels are used. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once a person opens one Short, they get access to tons more of them (again, think TikTok or Reels playing one after another.) According to Google, YouTube Shorts now averages over 30 billion daily views (four times as many as a year ago).

It did not take long for businesses to get involved with Shorts. As we have blogged, brands everywhere are connecting with the vast YouTube audience with organic content and advertising.

For instance, Kitchen and home marketplace Food52 is posting Shorts that offer sneak peeks at its longer-form content on the traditional version of YouTube, as well as repurposing some recipe videos. Drupely’s olive-oil brand Graza says it is creating user engagement by posting how-to cooking and recipe content. According to Graza, videos focused solely on Graza products do better on TikTok than on Shorts.

Social Commerce on Shorts

If YouTube has its way, more brands will be using Shorts to sell things to people. New shopping features are being tested by YouTube in order to accelerate social commerce on YouTube. The new shopping features allow users to purchase products as they scroll through Shorts.

In the United States, eligible creators can tag products from their own stores. Viewers in the United States, India, Brazil, Canada and Australia can see the tags and shop through the Shorts. (The plan is to expand tagging for more creators and countries.)

YouTube is also experimenting with an affiliate program in the United States. This makes it possible for creators to earn commissions through purchases of recommended products in their Shorts and regular videos. YouTube says that this test is in early days. The program will be expanded in 2023.

This is just the latest in many efforts by YouTube to inject social shopping into the user experience. For instance, YouTube launched shoppable ads and the ability to shop directly from livestreams hosted by creators. YouTube has good reason to make it easier to buy and sell products on Shorts. Shorts has topped 1.5 billion monthly users. According to gen.video, YouTube ranks third overall in terms of where consumers do their product research before buying, only behind Amazon and Google directly.

YouTube Shorts is in a race with Instagram and TikTok to win attention from shoppers. Both apps have a head start on Shorts, and TikTok is testing TikTok Shop in the United States. TikTok Shop allows users to buy products directly through the app. All of them are trying to get a slice of the social shopping pie: social commerce is expected to be a $2 trillion market by 2025.

Brands are already figuring out how to sell products via Shorts. Glossier sold products through Shorts in June by creating a challenge for users to try. Glossier gave about a hundred influencers a new pencil eyeliner and encouraged them to create Shorts videos with the hashtag #WrittenInGlossier in the caption. People who tapped the hashtag were brought to the Glossier website. There, they could buy the eyeliner and were asked to recreate a look as part of the challenge. Any Shorts video that included the hashtag was shoppable.

2023 will likely be a year for more shopping features to proliferate on video platforms, with Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram duking it out for consumers’ attention amid a recessionary economy. Who will win? We’ll report progress here.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Why Google Is Bullish about Winning Its Fight with TikTok

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

Why Google Brought Advertising to YouTube Shorts

Why YouTube Shorts Matters to Brands

Why Google Is Bullish About Winning Its Fight with TikTok

Why Google Is Bullish About Winning Its Fight with TikTok

Google YouTube

Alphabet, Google’s parent, announced third-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations. Normally an earnings miss is cause for concern especially during recessionary times. But the company sounded upbeat. In fact, Alphabet believes it’s making the right investments for long-term growth, including one crucial YouTube feature.

The Numbers

First, let’s take a look at the numbers. For the third quarter, Alphabet reported:

  • Revenue: $69.09 billion vs. $70.58 billion expected, according to Refinitiv estimates.
  • Google advertising revenue: $54.48 billion, up 2.5 percent year over year but down 3 percent between the second and third quarters. (By contrast, Google’s ad revenue jumped 43.2 percent between the second and third quarters of 2021.)
  • YouTube advertising revenue: $7.07 billion vs $7.42 billion expected, according to StreetAccount estimates.

The decline in ad revenue for YouTube is most bothersome for Google, especially because YouTube rival TikTok continues to pick up steam. Advertisers are finding something better on TikTok: younger, highly engaged audiences who prefer TikTok’s short-form video content.

According to Statista, TikTok generated $4.0 billion in advertising revenue in 2021, a figure that is expected to double by 2024 and triple by 2026.Digiday reported just a few days ago that ad agencies are shifting content creation from Instagram and YouTube to TikTok. In April, Insider Intelligence predicted that TikTok’s ad revenue will grow 184% to nearly $6 billion in 2023 (that amount tops Twitter and Snap combined). Meanwhile, Insider Intelligence says that Influencer-marketing spend on TikTok will overtake YouTube in 2024.

YouTube Is Fighting Back

But Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says he is confident that Google will turn things around. One reason: the company has developed an answer to TikTok.

YouTube recently launched Shorts, which is YouTube’s version of short-form TikTok videos. Shorts is basically a TikTok copycat. Using the YouTube app, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once you open one short, you essentially access the motherlode in that videos start playing one after the other. Just swipe vertically to get from one to the next.

According to YouTube, more than 1.5 billion people use Shorts – impressive numbers that actually surpass TikTok’s user base. As a result, more brands are creating campaigns on Shorts. It’s early days for Shorts and brands, but Shorts has two big advantages over TikTok:

  • Integration with YouTube, which has 2.6 billion active users. This is important because YouTube can promote Shorts to the built-in user base, and brands can connect Shorts content to their already established YouTube presence.
  • A creator monetization program that is more favorable than TikTok’s. YouTube recently announced Shorts will soon be eligible for monetization, and creators will keep 45 percent of the revenue generated from viewership. Having more savvy and popular creators on Shorts will generate more ad revenue for YouTube – and likely attract more brands.

Shorts is a fledgling operation. It only recently launched an ad program. But in an earnings call with investors, Pichai voiced optimism that the company’s investment into Shorts will pay off. He reiterated YouTube’s commitment to Shorts monetization, challenging TikTok directly, and attracting creators to the platform.

He has one other reason to feel upbeat. TikTok continues to grapple with a recurring and very ugly issue about its possible threat to national security related to accusations of privacy breaches — an issue that flared up in 2020 and is making headlines again. Who knows how that is going to turn out?

The best course of action for YouTube is the one that the company has chosen already: answering TikTok as it has done and capitalizing on its built-in user base. This will take time, and investors are impatient, especially during a down economy. But Alphabet has the cash to ride out the down times and continue to make YouTube more appealing to advertisers and creators.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

The Most Popular Social Media Apps for Teens

The Most Popular Social Media Apps for Teens

Social media

How are teens spending their time on social media these days? This is an important question for advertisers. That’s because teens spend money. They talk about their favorite brands with each other. Their preferences influence the popular cultural trends that advertisers need to understand in order to stay relevant. And if advertisers play their cards right, they can, in turn, influence teen behavior.

A new survey of Americans aged 13-17 from Pew Research Center reports some eye-opening findings about where and how teens are spending their time online. Key findings:

  • YouTube reigns. 95 percent of teens use YouTube, followed by TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

Social Media Apps

  • Only 32 percent use Facebook, compared to 71 percent in 2014-15. Not only is there a smaller share of teenage Facebook users than there was in 2014-15, teens who do use Facebook are also relatively less frequent users of the platform compared to the other platforms covered in this survey. Just 7 percent of teen Facebook users say they are on the site or app almost constantly (representing 2 percent of all teens). Still, about six-in-ten teen Facebook users (57 percent) visit the platform daily.

Leading Social Sites

  • Many teens are always on. 46 percent of teens say they’re on the internet “almost constantly,” up from 24 percent in 2014-2015.  Roughy one in five teens are almost constantly on YouTube, which leads all platforms.

Social Media Usage

  • The vast majority of teens have access to digital devices, such as smartphones (95 percent), desktop or laptop computers (90 percent) and gaming consoles (80 percent). Since 2014-15, there has been a 22 percentage point rise in the share of teens who report having access to a smartphone (95 percent now and 73 percent then). While teens’ access to smartphones has increased over roughly the past eight years, their access to other digital technologies, such as desktop or laptop computers or gaming consoles, has remained statistically unchanged.
  • More affluent teens are particularly likely to have access to all three devices. Fully 76 percent of teens that live in households that make at least $75,000 a year say they have or have access to a smartphone, a gaming console and a desktop or laptop computer, compared with smaller shares of teens from households that make less than $30,000 or teens from households making $30,000 to $74,999 a year who say they have access to all three (60 percent and 69 percent of teens, respectively).
  • U.S. teens living in households that make $75,000 or more annually are 12 points more likely to have access to gaming consoles and 15 points more likely to have access to a desktop or laptop computer than teens from households with incomes under $30,000.
  • Habits vary by demographic. Teen boys are more likely than teen girls to say they use YouTube, Twitch and Reddit. Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to use TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. Higher shares of Black and Hispanic teens report using TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp compared with white teens.

Implications for Brands

  • Short-form content on TikTok is popular, but so is longer-form content on YouTube. Within just a few years, TikTok has famously rocketed to popularity by featuring videos that are about 30 seconds in length (often shorter). But YouTube’s popularity demonstrates that teens also like more in-depth video content, as Mashable points out. Longer-form content lends itself to content marketing, such as “how to” topics and podcasts, as noted here. On the other hand, shorter-form TikTok videos lend themselves to catchy, engaging micro-moments. To use a television analogy, TikTok is the place for 30-second spots, and YouTube for advertorials. As one influencer on LinkedIn wrote, “If digital media is hunger, TikTok feels like McDonalds, and YouTube feels like [insert fairly decent quality restaurant]. TikTok gives you dopamine hits. It’s addicting, you can become consumed by it, but it doesn’t mean you’re satisfied with the quality. Each swipe is, ‘okay, now what’s next.’ Before you know it, it’s an hour. YouTube, even with most videos watched being through recommendations, provides a deeper connection with the viewer. If you watch a video for >1min, you’re truly invested. This also means that creators will build more meaningful viewer connections through YouTube. All data shows that Gen Z appreciates the quality and connections of YouTube.”
  • Teens are not all the same. Variances exist by income level and demographic, as noted above. It’s important to understand the differences depending on your audience. In addition to the statistics cited above, we also noticed the popularity of gaming consoles among more affluent teens. And overall, Hispanic (47 percent) and Black teens (45 percent) are more likely than white teens (26 percent) to say they use at least one of the five most popular social media online platforms almost constantly. And teen girls are most likely to be social media loyal than teen boys: teen girls are more likely than teen boys to express it would be difficult to give up social media (58 percent versus 49 percent). All of these nuances influence any company that wants to launch a credible multi-cultural marketing strategy.
  • Facebook still matters, but Instagram does even more. Even though it’s less popular among teens than it was in 2014-15, it’s still more popular with teens than Twitter, Twitch, WhatsApp, Reddit, and Tumblr. As teens get older, they may very well spend more time on Facebook. And Facebook the platform still enjoys widespread usage among adults, as seen in other recent Center studies. However, it’s clear that among Meta’s brands, Instagram is more important for reaching teens, especially as Instagram morphs into a social selling site.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including social mediavideo, and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

YouTube

The rise of TikTok is one of the most phenomenal stories in the digital world. Since launching globally in 2018 through a merger with Musical.ly, TikTok has become a multi-billion-dollar advertising machine. TikTok has more than 1 billion members, has surpassed Snapchat to become the most popular app with teens, and is on course to earn more than $11 billion in ad revenue in 2022.

TikTok has succeeded by becoming the preferred app for short-form videos. Although users can post videos that are as lengthy as 10 minutes, the ideal TikTok video is about 30 seconds long. Some of the most popular TikTok videos of all time, racking up billions of views, are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them short.  As a result of TikTok’s popularity, brands are spending more money advertising on the app, which is a threat to more established apps such as YouTube and Instagram.

Because of TikTok’s popularity, YouTube and Instagram have responded in kind by launching short-form video features. For example, in 2021, YouTube rolled out Shorts globally after a more limited launch in India in 2020. Although YouTube Shorts is not yet a source of meaningful advertising revenue for YouTube, it is gaining traction with brands.

What Is the YouTube Shorts Feature?

Shorts is basically a TikTok copycat. Using the YouTube app, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once you open one short, you essentially access the motherlode in that videos start playing one after the other. Just swipe vertically to get from one to the next.

Shorts, much like TikTok, provides editing tools you can use to flex creative muscle. Users can string clips together, adjust playback speed, and add music and text. And as YouTube has blogged, creators can play off of existing content: “[Y]ou can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience—whether it’s reacting to your favorite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits.” (Notably, creators are in control of their material; they can opt out of having their long-form videos remixed in this way.)

According to YouTube, more than 1.5 billion people use Shorts – impressive numbers that actually surpass TikTok’s user base. It was only a matter of time before YouTube made it possible for brands to get involved creating their own Shorts. And they are.

How Are Brands Using YouTube Shorts?

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, brands are increasingly experimenting with ways to engage with users on Shorts. For example:

  • Kitchen and home marketplace Food52 is posting Shorts that offer sneak peeks at its longer-form content on the traditional version of YouTube, as well as repurposing some recipe videos.
  • Drupely’s olive-oil brand Graza says it is creating user engagement by posting how-to cooking and recipe content. According to Graza, videos focused solely on Graza products do better on TikTok than on Shorts.
  • Glossier sold products through Shorts in June by creating a challenge for users to try. Glossier gave about a hundred influencers a new pencil eyeliner and encouraged them to create Shorts videos with the hashtag #WrittenInGlossier in the caption. People who tapped the hashtag were brought to the Glossier website. There, they could buy the eyeliner and were asked to recreate a look as part of the challenge. Any Shorts video that included the hashtag was shoppable.
  • Danessa Myricks Beauty used a short to promote its launch in Sephora. The Short built excitement for the launch by featuring the sending off a package of its product to be sent to Sephora stores.
  • NBC’s The Voice relied on Shorts to feature hosts for its most recent season. The ad included a banner at the end with clear directions for viewers on when and where to watch the show.

This is all encouraging for Shorts, but the feature is not yet a revenue generator, and YouTube is under pressure to staunch the flow of ad dollars to TikTok. On top of that, Instagram is turning up the heat with its own TikTok challenger, Reels.

Even so, YouTube is striking a note of optimism.

Philipp Schindler, senior vice president and chief business officer at Google, said during second-quarter earnings call in July. “…[E]arly results in Shorts monetization are also encouraging, and we’re excited about the opportunities here.”

It’s early days for Shorts and brands. Meanwhile, Shorts has one big advantage over TikTok: integration with YouTube, which has 2.6 billion active users. This is important because YouTube can promote Shorts to the built-in user base, and brands can connect Shorts content to their already established YouTube presence.

What Brands Should Do

  • Know your audience. YouTube appeals to the 15-25-year-old demographic. It is also very popular among 26-35-year-olds. TikTok skews younger: it is most attractive to 16-24 year-olds.
  • Be ready to capitalize on Shorts ad formats when they become available widely. For instance, brands will be able to connect their product feeds to their campaigns and make video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable.
  • Understand how to integrate Shorts ad formats into a broader YouTube advertising strategy that includes skippable video ads, bumper ads, overlay ads, and others.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Celebrating 15 Years of Growth at True Interactive

Celebrating 15 Years of Growth at True Interactive

Advertising

2022 marks a big milestone: True Interactive celebrates our 15th birthday. We’re now old enough for a learner’s permit to drive a car in Illinois.

Our story, and the story of the internet, has been shaped enormously by the actions of a few influential companies:

  • Google organized the world’s information online and taught everyone how to find it.
  • Meta connected people through social media.
  • Thanks to Apple, we took the internet with us on our mobile phones.
  • YouTube changed how we consume content with video.
  • Amazon made the world comfortable conducting commerce online.

These and a handful of other companies rewrote the rules for how businesses and people discover each other and build relationships.

Online advertising is at the center of this change. At True Interactive, we are grateful to the clients who have trusted us to help them figure out how to succeed in the digital age, and to our own people who’ve brought to our client relationships a spirit of hard work, collaboration, transparency, and a commitment to results. Businesses like to say that their people are their strongest assets, but people are more than that: they form our culture. Both the people who work for us and the people who work with us.

And we are proud of that culture. The magic that happens when great people and clients collaborate has produced remarkable results, such as triple-digit returns on ad spend and a dramatic reduction in costs. (You can read more about our work here.) And from our experiences, we’ve developed services ranging from search engine marketing to social media advertising that create a foundation for our team to innovate.

The next 15 years will evolve differently than the last. We’re probably nearing the end of an era when single companies could wield such enormous impact. The industry has become far too diversified for one business to change consumer behavior in far-reaching ways as Google did with its founding in 1998. And the fast-moving digital world still has few barriers to entry, which opens up the playing field.

Consider TikTok, which didn’t even exist until 2016 and has now challenged YouTube’s dominance with inventive short-form video. Or Snapchat, which keeps nudging the marketing world to embrace augmented reality even though its main rivals such as Meta had a long head start. The connected TV space still feels wide open.

And then there’s the metaverse. It’s just too vast and far-reaching for any single company to dominate. In fact, the fundamental notion of the metaverse is predicated upon the development of a decentralized web, Web 3.0. We’re only six months into 2022, and we’ve already seen just how much of a free-for-all that this emerging world feels like right now. Some of the building blocks of the metaverse, such as cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs), sounded so fresh and exciting at the beginning of the year. Now businesses and people everywhere are learning (sometimes the hard way) how far those technologies still have to go before they redefine the landscape the way search, mobile computing, and video did.

We’re as bullish on emerging technologies and forms of computing as we were 15 years ago when we figured out how to help businesses build powerful brands even as human beings were learning how to search online. We can promise you that regardless of how the digital world evolves, we will always:

  • Not succumb to hype. We’re on the forefront of change, but everything we need to do must be grounded in reality, not wild speculation.
  • Deliver measurable results. If we can’t deliver measurable value, we won’t do it.
  • Be totally transparent. Our clients know what they’re getting from us. And they know how we deliver value. Trust is a wonderful thing. It must be earned through openness.

What excites us most? The unknown. The next wave of change that no one sees coming. The unknown creates a level playing field. The unknown is a vast well of opportunity. Much of the digital world was unknown when we were founded, and look where we are now thanks to our people and our clients. Whatever happens next, our culture of hard work, collaboration, transparency, and commitment to delivering results will ensure that we thrive. Together.

Happy 15, everyone! 

— Kurt Anagnostopoulos and Mark Smith

Why Google Brought Advertising to YouTube Shorts

Why Google Brought Advertising to YouTube Shorts

Google YouTube

During the past several weeks, the marketing world has been buzzing about streaming companies such as Disney+ and Netflix embracing advertising. And this conversation is more than justified. Both businesses offer advertisers a tremendous inventory for creating highly relevant advertising content to a global streaming audience that continues to grow based on industry research. As we mentioned recently in a blog post, although we don’t yet know what kinds of ad units Disney+ and Netflix will offer, they can certainly draw upon plenty of examples. One of them is YouTube.

YouTube Advertising

YouTube has offered ad units for years. And although the growth of YouTube’s ad revenues has not delivered on analysts’ expectations lately, the app remains an important part of Google’s growth. YouTube’s worldwide advertising revenues amounted to $6.9 billion in the first quarter of 2022, representing a 14 percent year-over-year increase. YouTube is certainly threatened by the rise of TikTok, but the app is still a juggernaut, and one of the reasons for that is YouTube’s ability to offer a diversified slate of ad units.

The most casual users of YouTube are familiar with some of YouTube’s popular ad units such as skippable video ads (which allow viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds). Over the years, YouTube has built on this foundation of short-form ad units with new products. For example, in 2019, YouTube unveiled a product called Bumper Machine, which makes it easier for businesses to create six-second video ads, or bumpers.

YouTube has also embraced connected TV with the Masthead ad format for TV. This allows brands to connect with consumers the instant users access the YouTube app on their televisions. The Masthead format is a response to the fact that while consumers aren’t watching as much linear TV, they are still using their televisions as a tool for experiencing streaming platforms like YouTube. In other words, YouTube understands viewing trends, and is staying nimble in its bid to connect with advertisers in an informed way.

At Google’s 2022 Marketing Live event, the company also rolled out more ad products. For example, Google is starting to offer ads in YouTube Shorts around the world after experimenting with ads in YouTube Shorts since 2021.

With YouTube Shorts, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds, similar to how TikTok and Instagram Reels are used. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once a person opens one Short, they get access to tons more of them (again, think TikTok or Reels playing one after another.) According to Google, YouTube Shorts now averages over 30 billion daily views (four times as many as a year ago).

 YouTube Shorts

Shorts, much like TikTok, provides editing tools for people to create slick, high-concept content. And now brands can get in on the action because their Video action campaigns and App campaigns will automatically scale to YouTube Shorts.

 Google said that later in 2022:

  • Brands will also be able to connect their product feeds to their campaigns and to make their video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable.
  • Google is developing a long-term YouTube Shorts monetization solution for our creators, which Google will discuss soon.

This all sounds like a wise move on Google’s part. Google needs YouTube Shorts to succeed to thwart TikTok. And making Shorts ads shoppable capitalizes on the social commerce boom.

YouTube Shorts

Moreover, the rise of the creator economy has generated a new segment of influencer creators. As I blogged in January, the creator economy will become even more powerful. That’s because collaboration networks are proliferating. These networks give creators an all-in-one platform to create communities and build influence. In addition, gaming sites such as Roblox and Twitch offer creators opportunities to monetize their work with potential partnerships with brands, and crypto currency sites such as Rally.io make it possible for creators to mint their own currency. The big social networks such as Meta are responding by making themselves more attractive to creators. YouTube wants to monetize this activity and not lose out to its rivals.

What Advertisers Should Do

It’s important that advertisers say abreast of these developments, and if you work with an agency partner, collaborate with them closely on a way forward. (This is what our clients do with True Interactive.)

Not every video ad unit may be relevant to you. Assess the video ad units proliferating – whether from YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other apps – against your audience and business objectives. And think of them strategically. For instance, recently, one of our clients experienced a challenge: its share of branded search was dropping. The client, a photo curating and sharing company, naturally wanted to improve. So, we launched a video-based awareness campaign that spanned display, YouTube, Google Display Network, connected TV, Yahoo Online Video, Facebook, and Yahoo Display. Our focus: mobile and connected TV. We also ensured that YouTube ads could target connected TV screens.

As a result, our client enjoyed significant improvements in both awareness and also revenue – showing how powerful video can be as a direct-response format in addition to brand awareness. Read more about this case study here.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.