YouTube Enhanced Targeting

Puneet Vaghela

YouTube are moving to a cookie-free diet to enhance ad effectiveness.

As marketers, we have an ever-changing expectation of ad effectiveness. The way yesterday’s ad performed is no longer good enough today. Cross-device measurement is bigger now than ever before and so our targeting needs to be just as fresh. Of course, let’s not forget about user privacy and the importance this holds for not only those buying the ads, but those serving them and in particular those viewing them.

All of this has led YouTube to make a significant change to its targeting options within AdWords and DBM. But before we get to what the change is, let’s see why the change might be significant…

  • 71% of views on YouTube come from mobile devices (phones and tablets, over 50% are on mobile phones)*
  • The fastest growing device for YouTube is the smart TV, which accounts for 10% – 20% of views now*
  • YouTube accounts for ~10% of all TV watch time in the UK*
  • It has 85% reach of the UK mobile population*

Mobile and cross-device viewing is now the norm. Marketers need to be equipped with the tools to target and report on these audiences, who are becoming increasingly difficult to analyse, due to the inability of cookies to report cross device performance accurately.

Therefore, YouTube has announced that it is developing a cloud-based solution for measuring performance across devices over the next year. This new solution will allow advertisers to gain greater insights into their cross-device audience who engage with their YouTube campaigns, as well as help protect the privacy and security of users across YouTube by offering them the ability to stop seeing ads from an advertiser across Google Search and YouTube simultaneously.

Information from users’ Google accounts, including demographic, maps and search history, will now be used to further enhance targeting approaches on YouTube by overlaying additional layers of intent to existing targeting options. Google will be including behavior and intent signals around consumer patterns in search, including major life event likelihoods, to further increase the accuracy of future YouTube campaigns. Add into the mix the use of Customer Match, and suddenly YouTube becomes even more powerful a platform. Advertisers will be able to show personalised and relevant video ads to people across multiple screens and frequency cap across devices, reducing wasted impressions and annoying situations for users who see the same ad over and over again on their desktop, mobile, tablet and TV.

But what does this really mean for everyone? Well, it’s a step in the right direction for user privacy. No one likes being bombarded by ads and putting measures in place to prevent this can only be a positive thing. And a very clever thing as well…

In order to opt out of seeing ads for a brand on one channel (e.g. Google Search) and have this translated across YouTube as well, people will have to have a Google account and be logged in across their devices. This in turn will give Google more data to ensure its enhanced targeting only gets better, which is the main benefit for advertisers. We will now be able to serve cross-device video impressions, with personalised and specific content for both the user and the device they are watching on. Frequency capping across devices will be key to maintaining a happy audience and as the data base of logged in users grows and we acquire more robust cross-screen data learnings, we are likely to see a reduction in impression wastage and an increase in advertising effectiveness across YouTube.

*N.B. All Stats are from Google’s own data in partnership with ComScore and BARB