What YouTube's Audience-Targeting Feature Means for Ads

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Digital disrupts everything. And when it comes to advertising, the steady tidal wave of change affecting how we watch television has really shaken things up. In fact, by the year 2019, experts estimate cord cutters will number over 19 million in the United States alone. While cable television might have reigned supreme in years gone by, consumers are more in control than ever before.

Our ever-evolving technology has created a new generation of connected viewers indulging in online media consumption, which includes watching content digitally. Video giant YouTube notes that users viewing content on connected televisions represent explosive growth in its audience, with an estimated 150 million hours of YouTube content streaming on television screens around the world.

Google's YouTube unit has a solid reputation of giving advertisers new ways to hone in on their target audiences. In 2018, the company announced a plan for advertisers to reach viewers watching YouTube on their televisions, as well as cord cutters and folks who just don't watch that much traditional television. Here are the essential things you should know about this new audience-targeting campaign.

Targeting Light TV Viewers

Do you watch most of your television online? If so, you might belong to YouTube's new audience segment for Google Adwords: "light TV viewers." This savvy move comes in the wake of a steady growth in digital video viewing, and gives advertisers additional flexibility to target their audiences more effectively. With this category, advertisers can choose the devices they want to target with their marketing efforts, including desktops and mobile devices.

AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager Targeting via TV Screens

This program gives advertisers their first-ever opportunity to target online television viewers. Advertisers can reach those watching YouTube on their connected televisions using DoubleClick Bid Manager and AdWords. These options already exist for advertisers who advertise using YouTube ads on computers, tablets, and mobile phones. With this new rollout, advertisers will be able to modify their content to make sure it's optimized for television viewing.

YouTube TV Ad Inventory Availability in Google Preferred 

In 2017, Google threw its hat into the virtual pay-television market with the launch of YouTube TV. When it launched, it provided subscribers with about 50 different live channels, and didn't include ads. That will change starting in 2018's fourth quarter as Google extends its Google Preferred ad program to many of the networks on YouTube TV. This is significant largely because Google Preferred has long been a premium ad program on the top-tier, most-popular YouTube channels.

By making the jump to YouTube TV, Google can turn the volume way up on the number of opportunities for monetization available to advertisers. This is likely just the beginning of the new and innovative options advertisers will have to update their strategies in today's fast-moving digital world.