Pixability has announced BrandTrack, a new competitive intelligence tool that helps advertisers optimize their presence on YouTube. BrandTrack provides detailed information on competitors within 25 different industries, showing metrics on channel growth, estimated ad spending, brand sentiment, top/trending videos, best practices at the video-specific level and more. Pixability is pulling the data directly from YouTube’s API and then applying its proprietary technology and UI/visualization to give advertisers easily digestible insights.
BrandTrack grew out of a professional service Pixability has been offering clients for a while. But, recognizing that advertisers need to be able to flexibly adjust their YouTube content/spending to maintain a competitive edge, the service has been productized into a SaaS offering available standalone ($2K-$10K per month, based on seats) or as part of the PixabilityONE platform.
In a demo last week, Pixability showed me how BrandTrack can be used to analyze competitors’ presence in two of the available verticals (see this short video). A quick dive into cosmetics revealed estimated ad spending by competitors, the specific videos that were doing well, the days of the week they were doing especially well, their engagement, and lots more. A savvy product marketing analyst, working closely with a nimble in-house content studio, could have a field day with the data. Using BrandTrack insights, the content creators could quickly spin up new videos and place/boost them on YouTube, effectively staying one step ahead of competitors. As the others caught up, the advertiser could quickly move on. BrandTrack takes “to the nimble go the spoils” to a new level.
It was in the second vertical we looked at - politics - that BrandTrack’s value became even more apparent. In the current political season the landscape changes minute-to-minute. Something happens in the economy. Coronavirus breaks out. Trump tweets something outrageous. Etc. Fully capitalizing on these moments - and trying to create a new viral hit - is how candidates build momentum. So while the politics vertical showed Bloomberg swamping the field with his outsized spending, no surprise, BrandTrack helps understand which of his content and other candidates’ content is resonating. Consequently, all candidates can then make content/spending adjustments accordingly.
Thinking about the roadmap for a tool like BrandTrack, the next step would be to customize/automate the intelligence gathering process. Then have the insights directly feed into a content creation engine. Then have automated/programmatic campaigns built around them. These kinds of things already exist in different ways and in different places. Pulling them all together would be very powerful.
BrandTrack is all the more compelling because, remarkably, years after its strong push into advertising, YouTube remains a black box / Wild West for so many advertisers. YouTube is so massive that it is virtually impossible for advertisers to ignore. In its first-ever reveal of YouTube’s financial performance, Alphabet recently disclosed that YouTube racked up over $15 billion in ad revenue in 2019, up 86% vs. 2017. But YouTube is still difficult for major advertisers to fully understand. And unlike TV, YouTube continues to have brand safety challenges, raising the possibility that a well-meaning campaign could end up in an unintended environment.
Nonetheless, I continue to be very bullish on YouTube, and can see how the company could hit $25 billion in revenue in 2020. The core of my optimism is that I believe YouTube can monetize a premium video view better than anyone else (again possible exception of Amazon, but well down the road). This is partially because of the unparalleled size of YouTube’s inventory and also the extensive data and publishing capabilities YouTube has built itself.
But it’s also because third-party companies like Pixability and others in the YouTube ecosystem continue innovating around how to make YouTube more valuable to advertisers, and hence to content creators themselves. This is a virtuous circle or a flywheel or whatever you want to call it. Regardless of its name, to me it feels like YouTube’s best days are still ahead. As YouTube deepens its commitment to TV and TV advertising, all networks should be paying close attention.