YouTube to Buy TV Ads to Promote Some Top Creators (Report)

/ Apr 3, 2014

end-goal still tv

Declining ad rates has been a major issue for YouTube and its community of creators. To combat that, the company has undertaken several initiatives in the past few months to bring more advertiser interest (and money) to the platform, the most interesting of which is actually buying TV ads to promote some of its top creators and channels.

According to a report by AdAge, YouTube plans to open up its checkbook and buy TV ads for three creators, Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Rosanna Pansino. The move is part of a larger campaign that will include traditional buys across print and out of home, rich-media ads on Rovio’s super-popular Angry Birds games, and the obvious promotion across Google’s video and display ad network.

Several important things to note here: Outside of the simple fact of buying traditional ads, something which YouTube has done before for themed events like Geek Week and Comedy Week, look at who YouTube is promoting. Two of the creators operate in the beauty and fashion category.

As we’ve said before on multiple occasions, beauty is big on YouTube, both from an audience and advertiser-opportunity standpoint. So it make sense that YouTube would try and drive even more audiences to these channels. Boost what already works.

That goes the same with Pansino, who has a popular cooking channel on YouTube. All three creators slide really well into the broader how-to category, which is also very big on YouTube.

Where YouTube plans to push these creators is also interesting. Per the report, the company will buy ads against programming on ABC Family and The CW — two very popular networks for teens. Teens, who happen to be voracious consumers of YouTube content, as YouTube said itself during its Brandcast event last year, and as evidenced by the crazed attendance of events like Vidcon and Playlist Live.

Other teen-friendly traditional outlets YouTube is planning to promote the creators are Allure, Seventeen, and Entertainment Weekly.

The company will round these buys out with ads on billboards, subway stations, and trains in New York City and Chicago — a standard practice for any major ad campaign.

Will this help drive more audiences to YouTube, and in turn, more advertiser interest for top creators on the site? YouTube hopes so. And it’s been doing several things to placate advertisers who are still hesitant about buying media on the world’s biggest video platform.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube is offering advanced audience and view guarantees to advertisers who reserve placement on some of its top channels. Essentially, YouTube says it will air ads until they meet a certain number of viewers the advertiser is trying to reach. And to make them even happier, these ads would only run on the top 5% of channels on YouTube — where there’s more “premium” (read: ad-friendly) content. This is a common practice on television, and one that buyers have asked YouTube to do for quite some time now.

(If you want to know who Google considers to be the top creators and channels on YouTube, check out “Google Preferred” playlist on the YouTube Advertising channel. The sizzle reels feature a variety of different creators across genres like food, comedy, news, and music.)

This followed YouTube’s decision to include Nielsen OCR and comScore vCE tags on video and display ads on its platform. The move allowed advertisers to measure and assess their ad campaigns using two measurement tools used by most of the industry, instead of one created by and specific to YouTube.

Both creators and advertisers have been asking YouTube to change some of its practices to make it a more viable medium for monetization. These three moves say YouTube’s been listening.

And it won’t end with just these three creators. AdAge says this push will rollout to other creators in other popular categories on YouTube.

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