YouTube’s a large platform for video and ads — but it’s far from the only place brands can place advertising, as brands would like to remind the Google-owned site. With each passing controversy, YouTube’s willing to make changes, but also seems defensive, according to marketers taking notes.
Even though YouTube’s the biggest place to watch video, there are other platforms (including brands’ own sites) that have developed into safer places to house ads. Will marketers follow the lead of some larger companies like AT&T, which abandoned the platform earlier this year? Perhaps the next content issue will finally be the one that leads to the mass exodus to safer pastures.
Your full rundown of video publishing and personalization happenings are below. See anything else we need to include? Let us know.
“They were too defensive,” said a financial services marketing executive, who wished to remain anonymous. “Google behaved like they had the same monopoly on video with YouTube, like they do on search. And they don’t.” Anheuser-Busch InBev’s chief marketing officer Miguel Patricio agreed. While the beer giant did not stop advertising completely on the platform like several other brands, he said that it was “a serious issue” for the brand that needed “a fast answer.”
Moreover, the assumption that a completed video view equates to higher message absorption is false. A brand’s message, especially if it’s well done, is communicated from the very first second the video begins to roll. To write off non-completed video views as worthless is a mistake. It’s as if you’re assuming moviegoers who leave during the end credits didn’t get the point of a movie. But in the video ad world, that would indicate an incomplete viewing!
The cost of human capital is motivating publishers to produce both editorial and commercial content using AI. Some brands are taking the same route. IBM’s Watson, for example, can create movie trailers by splicing just the right scenes together, based on an audience’s emotional reactions. This capability was used to create the trailer for Luke Scott’s 2016 AI thriller, “Morgan.” AI is also being used to find brands the ideal spokespeople. Sony, Hyundai and J&J all work with Influential, which uses machine learning to match brands to the talent that best fits their campaigns and objectives.
With the rise of programmatic media buying around 2008, we started buying audiences. Until then, we used context as a proxy for an audience. If we wanted to buy men, we bought sports content, but we also reached a lot of women. Programmatic allowed us to buy the audiences we wanted wherever those audiences showed up, regardless of the content. Premium publishers felt threatened because they didn’t like that we could unbundle audiences from content, and they made loud arguments that context really mattered.
If a media partner allows us to be fully viewable with the sound on, we’re interested. For this campaign, that mainly means YouTube, Hulu, CNN, The New York Times and full-episode players for NBC and CBS. With programmatic, we only serve into an environment if the exchange offers these same criteria. We look at online and social behavior to signify an interest in wine. Our media agency, Havas, helps us sort that out.
It helps the org operate in what Young describes as a “competitive collaborative structure,” letting brands and groups learn from each other. And when a group or title is excelling in a particular area, it tends to set the organizationwide standard. An early example is Cosmopolitan as the standard bearer, per Lewis, for “what internet news needs to sound like.” Young points to food site Delish’s service videos and Best Product’s use of affiliate commerce for more recent examples.
Consumers have tasted unique, customized experiences, and they want more. Airbnb offers one of a kind, often quirky, experiences. Etsy connects handmade and often personalized crafts to consumers. Netflix offers TV viewers access to films, series, originals, and documentaries so subscribers can program their own personalized TV network.
Nelson hopes his work goes beyond simply walking viewers through a subject. He aims to reinvigorate seemingly mundane topics and introduce the lost element of whimsy back into branded content—and he wants The Explainer Studio’s branded content to remind viewers of what it’s like to let simple curiosity ignite a journey of exploration.
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