By Sahil Patel
Two years ago, at its first Newfront Brandcast presentation, YouTube tried the traditional upfront thing. The company famously unveiled a lineup of 100 original programming channels — many from traditional media stars and brands. That didn’t work so well.
Last year, the company shifted focus to talk about its audience, and the creators and channels that are really good at reaching that audience — in some cases, better than TV networks.
YouTube’s Newfront Brandcast number three was an extension of that conversation, with the official unveiling of Google Preferred, a program that is comprised of the top channels across categories like music, food, entertainment, and news. A few of those channels were showcased during the Brandcast event, which I’ve listed at the bottom of the post.
Google Preferred, which only features the top 5% of channels on YouTube across those categories (suggesting to advertisers that they are of a premium nature), is YouTube’s attempt at talking like the television industry. Even though, the company emphasizes, and did during its presentation, about how it’s different from TV.
“Simply put, today’s 18- to 34-year-olds just live differently,” said Margo Georgiadis, president of americas, sales, at Google. “They’ve grown up in a connected, always-on world, and [for them] YouTube has become a primary source for news, lifestyle, and entertainment.”
According to Georgiadis, YouTube is the number-one place for millennials to go to learn about a product or passion. “Because they’re choosing to learn about products on YouTube, they are much more open to [brand] messages,” said Georgiadis. “That’s why, for 18- to 34-year-olds, YouTube influences what cars, phones, and beauty products they buy 28% more strongly than TV.”
But the problem, as it has always been, is discovering which creators and channels that a brand should work with. “We need to make it easier for all of you to capture this opportunity, and to reach this highly engaged audience,” said Georgiadis.
And so the launch of Google Preferred.
Alongside the top YouTube channels across 14 different categories, Georgiadis also pointed to how YouTube has opened its doors to Nielsen and comScore, allowing advertisers to measure campaigns with the same services that they’re using for other online and traditional platforms.
That data, plus what YouTube already provides via its analytics capabilities, should help brands learn what they want to know when it comes to working on/with YouTube. (Of note: YouTube is launching a new tool that allows brands to measure “actual interest” of brands based on people’s real-time searches.)
And finally, YouTube is guaranteeing 100% reach on campaigns. Those ads will continue running until the targeted audience is reached on the video site.
Ultimately, this all makes YouTube look and sound like television — a digital MSO, if you will. Advertisers now have access to a curated list of channels, the ability to measure via Nielsen, and an audience guarantee.
“YouTube today is now easy to buy, easy to measure, and we give you the audience that you want,” said YouTube head of content Robert Kyncl, as if to drive the point home. The company has already inked deals with Johnson & Johnson and Heineken as part of the “incredibly scarce offering,” added Kyncl, who also announced a deal with DigitasLBi as the first agency partner to sign on to Google Preferred. (DigitasLBi is also a Newfront founding partner.)
Will this finally move the bucket when it comes to YouTube? “Tonight we had one special goal,” said Kyncl. “Tonight it was about us making you happy.” (Cueing up a performance from Pharrell.) YouTube sure hopes so.
A selection of Google Preferred channels:
Food & Recipe
- Rosanna Pansino
- Laura in the Kitchen
Beauty & Fashion
- Wendy’s Lookbook
- Michelle Phan
- Luxy Hair
- Bethany Mota
- Epic Rap Battles of History
- Bad Lip-Reading
- Funny or Die
- Magic of Rahat
Entertainment & Pop Culture
- Rocket Jump
- Jay Z’s Life & Times
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- I Am Other
- One Direction
- Boyce Avenue
- Girls’ Generation
- Bruno Mars
- Blake Shelton
- Zac Brown Band
- Hunter Hayes
- Spinnin’ Records
- UKF Dubstep