YouTube launched “YouTube Select,” replacing and expanding its prior Google Preferred solution, which was a curated selection of top YouTube channels. In a blog post, Vishal Sharma, VP, Product Management for YouTube Ads said in a blog post that YouTube Select will also include “emerging lineups” which are “up and coming or niche channels” in categories like beauty and fashion, entertainment, technology, sport and other.
With the new program, YouTube is expanding the quantity of content it is curating and ensuring as brand safe, further targeting connected TV viewers. YouTube said it will give advertisers the option to “only serve ads on videos that have been machine classified and human-verified.” Brand safety is a critical consideration for traditional TV ad buyers who have been a target audience for Google Preferred.
YouTube is capitalizing on viewing shifts to the big screen occurring due to the pandemic. Sharma cited internal data that 100 million+ Americans watch YouTube and YouTube TV on TVs each month. YouTube TV has become one of the largest virtual pay-TV operators, allowing YouTube to evolve its position beyond independently-produced video to distributor of premium broadcast and cable TV networks, which TV buyers are already familiar with.
A couple of weeks ago YouTube signaled increased emphasis on connected TVs with Brand Lift measurement for the YouTube app and soon for YouTube TV. This means that advertiser surveys we’re all familiar with are optimized for the big screen and for use with a TV remote control. YouTube also plans to introduce its skippable ad format when content is casted from a mobile device to the TV.
YouTube is becoming a more important part of Google’s overall business, with the company reporting ad revenue of $15 billion in 2019. That was the first time Google broke out YouTube’s revenue, and it was a sign that Google is finally looking to message to Wall Street what potential YouTube has as a big growth driver. I’ve long been bullish on YouTube’s potential, especially after it introduced YouTube TV, which has been impressive right from launch.
Given its vast trove of user data that can inform buying across a soon greater selection of brand safe connected TV inventory, YouTube Select looks well-positioned to help the company shift further spending from TV and digital buyers.