Weekly Digital Breakdown

YouTube Alters Ad Policy

As big tech continues to find itself under a microscope in terms of the privacy of user’s personal data, YouTube announced plans to discontinue ad targeting to videos geared toward younger audiences or those more likely to be viewed by children. While the company has created a separate, ad-free YouTube Kids app, children’s content can still be found on YouTube and receives billions of views. 

Currently, ad targeting on YouTube relies on the collection of user data and includes information such as demographics, interests, topics, or keywords to reach viewers. While this practice has been largely accepted for adults, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents the company from using data collection and targeting for minors. Critics of the recent policy change are concerned the additional layer of ad safety, while good intentioned, may be difficult to accurately regulate due to the categorization of videos and the subjectiveness of which content is “directed toward children,” making it difficult to know precisely which videos should exclude advertising. 

While it’s unknown if the recent decision is a direct result of YouTube’s potential breach of the COPPA policies and the involvement of the Federal Trade Commission, it’s likely part of the agreement or an act of goodwill. The only certainty from the situation is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for ad serving platforms to adhere to strict guidelines being put in place as they constantly find themselves unable to keep up.

Voice Assistants Are Commanding Attention

If there was ever any doubt about the ability for voice-controlled technology to make an impact on the market, recent reports by eMarketer show just how impactful voice search technology is for users and brands with nowhere to go but up. Currently, over 111 million people in the US, 33.8% of the total population, are using voice assistant monthly at minimum and are projected to exceed 122 million people by 2021. In addition, voice commanded searches are projected to account for 30% of all website sessions within the next 18 months.  

Accessibility to voice technology is now incorporated in the daily lives of most with the adoption of smart phones and smart home devices, creating more familiarity with the capabilities and increased trust in accuracy. Reasons users state for accessing voice assistance ranges from getting directions, listening to music, or finding nearby dining which allow users to easily multi-task while getting information. When it comes to device preference for voice assistance, mobile continues to be the clear front runner over home devices based on time in the market.

In evaluating the breakdown of usage by assistant type, Google Assistant remains the clear winner with 93% accuracy based on recent reports when compared to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. When testing, the biggest discrepancy in scores occurred during commerce-related questions (such as those requesting online ordering), with Google Assistant correctly answering 92% of requests, Alexa 71% and Siri 68%. 

With the data showing a clear trend in the use of voice assistance, the big question for marketers is how to best address the change and what does this mean for digital marketing.  Voice searches are unlike those typed into a search bar with requests done in more natural language and reaching these audiences requires adjustments to PPC campaign structure. Advancements in technology also allows for the devices to take searches the additional step by actioning items such as completing an online order. Addressing these audiences requires additional optimization for increased voice search traffic and it’s uniqueness in order to maximize brand exposure. Marketers need to be focused on implementing design changes to meet the demand and gain valuable market share.

Los Angeles Has A Maisel Makeover

Marvelous Mrs Maisel fans in LA enjoyed a true 1950’s California experience last Thursday with Amazon’s coined #MaiselDay. The promotion of the upcoming season for the streaming hit included nearly 30 businesses in the Los Angeles area with throw-back pricing, reminiscent of times gone by. Patrons experienced everything from 51¢ movies, $2 manicures or hairstyling, a 75¢ shoe shine, and 85¢ reuben sandwiches, as seen in many of the comedy’s episodes featuring main characters Midge and Susie.

While Amazon encouraged the 1950’s pricing for participating partners, many went for a full Maisel makeover with period inspired decor, such as working payphones and jukeboxes while others showed the award-winning series on loop on lobby screens for customers to be fully immersed in the experience.   

The promotional campaign garnered so much attention with the record low 30¢ gas prices that local law enforcement had to unfurl the unexpected traffic. While most were understanding of the tie-up, it did cause a temporary shut down in pricing until police could get assistance with traffic direction. 

The overwhelming success of Amazon’s promotion had fans raving and those unfamiliar questioning what they were missing, which is just the publicity Amazon was seeking with Masiel Day. The added hashtag allowed fans not in the area to join in on the fun, further invoking curiosity and enthusiasm for the much anticipated season three release.

What YouTube's Audience-Targeting Feature Means for Ads


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.


Get Greater Growth With Effective YouTube Advertising


Businesses everywhere are realizing the immense power of online video advertising. And there's no more effective way to advertise with video than on Google's video channel, YouTube, which has been around since 2005.

It's tough to argue with YouTube's dominance. Its audience numbers over one billion viewers. From that, YouTube gets about 30 million daily users watching videos on its site. Marketers of all sizes are using YouTube to reach viewers in order to raise brand awareness, sell products, and expand new businesses.

So how does your business get started using YouTube for advertising? There are several advertising options companies can use to reach more consumers and increase conversions. YouTube Ads fall under Google's larger advertising AdWords umbrella. Advertisers can create videos and choose from several video ad formats for multiple campaigns. Currently, YouTube offers three types of ads: TrueView in-stream ads, TrueView video discovery ads, and bumper ads.

TrueView In-stream Ads

TrueView in-stream ads come in two broad categories — skippable video ads and non-skippable video ads. Any regular video viewer has seen both of these ad formats. These ads are shown before the start of a video, and as clickable thumbnails. Skippable ads are generally short, running anywhere from 15 to 20 seconds at the start of a selected clip. After 5 seconds of seeing the ads, users can choose to "skip" them.

The non-skippable ads are the ones a viewer has to watch (or wait to finish) before the chosen clip starts. These ads tend to get higher engagement because they must make their calls to action (CTAs) short and sweet.

With either of these formats, advertisers should get their most important message across early in the ad, and deliver a CTA to visit a website or make a purchase before the end of the ad. Keep your ads short. Around 30 to 45 seconds is the average length.

Google notes that in-stream ads are best used for:

  • Brand awareness and reach
  • Brand and product consideration
  • Leads and site traffic
  • Non-goal-specific campaigns

TrueView Video Discovery Ads

Google recently renamed this ad category, as these were previously known as TrueView in-display ads.

Advertisers can utilize both desktop and mobile for TrueView video discovery ads. These ads are shown with a thumbnail and one to three lines of text. The difference with this format is that users click on the ad and are sent to a channel page to view the video (instead of viewing the video in the ad). Google recommends CTA overlays for these ads, enabling viewers to click through.

Bumper Ads

Need to gain viewer's attention fast? Try Google's Bumper ads. These are 6-second ads that serve as a short form of advertising for today's mobile users with short attention spans.

Bumper ads help brands communicate short messages for exposure and brand awareness. They seem to work best when created with a strong opening image, animation, or large text. Here are some bumper ad examples.

In each of these formats, from opening pitch to CTA, advertisers should be fast and creative on all fronts. Brands can use their expertise to create content that's informative and useful while building trust with viewers. Examples of this are ads espousing tutorials, problem-solving situations, and other teachable moments. Advertisers should also offer strong calls to action, directing viewers to relevant landing pages that can help to create conversions.

YouTube advertising is a route to marketing success your brand should explore in 2018. Let us help you figure out what works best for video advertising.