Capturing the Right Person, Right Content, Right Time on YouTube

Last week the British government pulled advertising from Google due to ads allegedly appearing on what they deemed to be inappropriate content. This catapulted something that has been brewing for quite some time out into the broader public conscious and the advertising industry backlash continues unabated.

Though Havas has made waves about it in recent months, this week a raft of brands and more agencies have jumped on the PR bandwagon berating YouTube for being unsafe; closely followed by TV ad execs reminding us that digital is dangerous and TV is still the safest video ad channel going.

To a certain extent YouTube is a victim of a wider feeling of discontent with digital/programmatic/video. Many of us who are connected to video ad tech such as programmatic ad buying platforms and exchanges have seen transparency as a growing issue for some years; things like click fraud and fake content have been generating illicit profits for questionable businesses for some time.

This recent revelation with YouTube is an entirely different kind of problem though.

YouTube is a place where anyone can publish and does.  It is without doubt the richest, most diverse, truly global collection of moving image materials and represents all walks of life, interests, ideology and endeavour. It is a place where audiences go to be entertained, to learn, to engage with each other, in short there is nothing quite like it and it remains an amazing place to deliver video advertising.

Industry innovation has focused on targeting advertising based on data driven strategies, these leverage personal data about users so they can be ‘re-targeted’.  These re-targeted ads are not always relevant to the content being consumed at that moment.  Essentially, this ignores what people are watching now and targets them based on past behaviour

In this current scenario, it is legitimate that an individual working in London in a government department researching the extent of fundamentalist propaganda videos on YouTube might be served an ad for a government service. The ad buy is based on who that person is not what they are watching. 

To deliver safe advertising campaigns on such a platform requires an understanding of the video content on the platform within the context of the advertising campaign and targeting only the suitable content. What may be considered inappropriate for your brand may be fine for mine – in this lies a responsibility for the ad buyer to be the arbiter of what is appropriate.

To avoid an ad appearing ahead of videos that are inappropriate for a brand then content must be considered as part of the targeting strategy so that there is enough data and control to identify, segment and execute campaigns that are ‘content intelligent’.

In YouTube this can be achieved using a Google feature provided in their ad-buying products enabling an advertiser to execute campaigns that run only on specific URL’s that the advertiser has defined. An advertiser can upload a placement list of validated video shortcodes or YouTube channel ID’s into the ad buying system - this can be done in both AdWords or Googles enterprise ad buying system Doubleclick.

But with 300 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute how can one find the right videos of the moment to target - and by default reverse target against the inappropriate videos that are also available to the same audience….

Right person, Right content, Right time

In opposition to the data driven user method commonly employed in targeting, VIDIRO’s PERFORM platform uses No Cookies, No User Tracking, No User ID.  It’s a more effective, better value, less contentious way to deliver advertising to a viewer.  Deploying our platform allows us to thin-slice the video inventory (we call these Nano Segments) on YouTube, enabling advertisers to identify and track contextually relevant and appropriate video for their campaign – without the viewer of those ads feeling like Big Brother is watching.  Our experience clearly illustrates when ads are RELEVANT to the content being CURRENTLY watched, the CTR is significantly higher. 

The net impact of this is:

  • High volume ‘niche’ marketing strategies – the inventory can be very finely tuned for certain types of audiences
  • Improved brand safety as the content is curated (so up to 100% brand safe)
  • Confidence that the ads are being shown on suitable content and minimising unsuitable ad placement
  • Higher impact campaign engagement.  For example, Vidiro executed a leading travel booking website campaign and delivered a 15x increase in clicks on the ad campaign. That’s right, 1500%. The campaign won an award for ‘Best use of Data and Analytics’ at the 2017 Accenture Digital Media Awards

A version of this blog post appears on Linked In