By Sahil Patel
YouTube says it wants to help advertisers become content creators. YouTube also wants more of their ad spend. Which is why the video site plans to launch a partner program this fall designed specifically for brands and agencies.
Announced at Cannes Lions yesterday, the new ad partner program will be similar to the program that is available to many of YouTube’s top content creators. Specifically: Advertisers will have access to a bunch of tools and resources from YouTube to create custom videos and develop audience-building initiatives. When advertisers join the program, they will get linked up with a content partner manager. This person will provide guidance on things like channel management, content strategy, and audience development.
The pilot test for the program will begin in September, when four advertisers — American Express, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo — plan to attend and participate in a week-long creative workshop in LA led by YouTube’s Next Lab.
Speaking to The Guardian, Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube, said the partner program is a way for brands to create “an ongoing conversation” with their fans, instead of just rolling out a new TV ad “four times a year.” “Advertisers need to rethink their cost structure,” he said, “it is practical to produce many more ads through YouTube. It is about working like a content creator and not just an advertiser.”
YouTube expects to extend the partner program to 100 advertisers by the end of 2014.