News & Views
Google expands YouTube Preferred

Sal Masekela, Red Bull Signature Series, Host for the night interviewing Zoella, YouTube creator

Google has expanded its new ad tool YouTube Preferred to markets outside of the US, with UK brands now being able to use the service.

The announcement was made at a Brandcast event in London, an event which was also used to promote local content success stories such as Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube and YouTube sensation Zoella (pictured above with Red Bull’s Sal Masekela).

YouTube Preferred has already launched in the US. It is a new tool that allows advertisers to buy the top performing 5%, or the most engaging and high quality content on YouTube, ahead of time. The move aims to put online video buying on a par with TV and so the timing of the event to be in the New Fronts (digital’s answer to TV’s Upfronts) is no accident.

Speaking at the event, Eileen Naughton, MD of Google in UK and Ireland, said, “Google Preferred lets advertisers reserve inventory from among the top 5% of YouTube’s most popular and engaging channels, making YouTube easier to buy than ever before.”

In real-time a score (P Score) is applied to the content that users in a particular market are engaging with, which advertisers can pay to ring-fence as content they want to advertise around. The aim is to separate the high quality content on YouTube that people flock to loyally and regularly from the one hit wonders, or the cat videos the service was once famed for. Separating the content out also creates a limit on how much of it can be bought, meaning brands will have more of a sense of urgency to book this proportion of ad inventory.

Explaining the algorithm Naughton added, “To identify these top channels, we’ve created the Preference Score: sort of a rating for the digital age. The algorithm ranks channels by popularity and engagement, using signals like watch time, comments, shares, social embeds. These are powerful signals. And in tests we’ve run in the US, ads on Google Preferred channels show significantly higher brand awareness and recall.”

PepsiCo took the speaker slot on behalf of brands on YouTube and Sebastian Micozzi, UK CMO echoed the sentiment of Naughton around the effectiveness of digital content channels.

“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,” he said, “In the UK, we are seeing a 43% increase in media ROI as we too increase our spend on [digital channels including] YouTube significantly.”

YouTube populated the rest of the event with some of its content success stories. Arguably, Vice News owes YouTube a namecheck for its recent rise to fame as the current affairs choice for young people across the globe.

Shane Smith, CEO and Founder, Vice Media also spoke at the event, “Today we are at a historic moment in media. We are witnessing a changing of the guard in real time. Young people are leaving TV in droves and moving to online. As a consequence new brands are being created as we speak. In fact Vice News has already been called the next CNN, but with the scale that YouTube offers I can assure you we will not be the next CNN… we will be 10x the next CNN.”

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