According to Google’s statistics, 18+ year old’s are watching more content on YouTube than any television network. While the traditional format of advertising on a cable or network television channel is facing enormous hurdles with so many people cutting off services, the traditional TV spot remains strong. YouTube not only allows for a platform that can reach customers, it allows for an incredibly precise form of targeting.
Google, the operator or YouTube, tracks an incredibly wide variety of data on its users. From searches, to website traffic, to videos watched, and everything in between. This allows for it to build a quite comprehensive data set on consumers. For instance, if someone has spent hours browsing an audio recording forum website and watched several reviews of tube-powered mixers on YouTube, it only makes sense they would be interested in an ad for high-quality headphones. On traditional television it would be foolish to put out an ad for audiophile headphones, especially from a small electronics company, hoping that someone watching a rerun of The Office would happen to be in the target demographic. But with Google’s comprehensive algorithms, a tighter advertising budget can reach a much more exacting target audience.
The limits of YouTube advertising are not just the small ads at the beginning of searched-for clips which can be quickly removed by ad blocking software. Another new trend is to have sponsored content bookending popular YouTube channel’s content directly within the video. Linus Tech Tips is a popular, but rather niche, computer hardware channel that shows a variety of reviews and technology tutorials. While their videos offer the traditional ads before the video starts, they also offer more specialized plugs for products at the beginning and end of the video’s confines. These plugs are done by members of the channel and are much more customized to the product. Even more importantly, these ads are directly within the video and thus unaffected by AdBlock.
Which is not to say YouTube advertising is a flawless approach to reaching target demographics. Many of these ads can easily be crippled by the use of AdBlock extensions on browsers. Also, YouTube’s ever-changing policies towards monetizable videos has left content creators in ire, and advertisers concerned about which videos their campaigns can even end up attached to. The in-video product endorsements would also require the participation of the content creator, which is not always an easy or safe task. YouTube personalities have proven to be a somewhat rocky ground of culturally acceptable content. Despite these issues, YouTube is poised to grow even larger in terms viewership.
With all those considerations, YouTube and Google’s attached data chain is still one of the most powerful advertising tools for reaching the consumer. Recently, competitors such as Facebook and Vimeo have attempted to break into the world of video hosting, but neither have been able to prove much of a threat to YouTube.
Written by Everett Garnett