Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The FUNdamentals of YouTube advertising

by Rob Blake, UK Country Manager at Channel Factory

YouTube has 2.6 billion users worldwide and more than 500 hours of content gets uploaded to the platform every minute. The importance of this platform to advertisers cannot be understated. However, how can brands and advertisers ensure they are making the most of the immense opportunity that YouTube presents?

Getting the fundamentals of YouTube advertising correct will allow brands to push out authentic and powerful messages to diverse and target audiences, leading to better engagement and attention metrics. Combining all of this together leads to every advertiser’s dream, that is, a maximised return on investment. But what are the fundamentals of YouTube advertising?

The C Word: Context

Context is a constant in the advertiser’s playbook. Think back to the 1930s when Procter & Gamble became the first major advertiser to sponsor a daytime drama using Oxydol soap powder, a laundry detergent. In the same way, context is key to the success of any YouTube advertising campaign. It adds meaning, authenticity and power to the messages that brands are trying to convey. It will directly correlate with either the content creator or the content the user is trying to view.

Using the vast amount of contextual data YouTube provides, advertisers can take the relevance of their advertising to the max, ensuring engagement rates are as high as possible. From a Channel Factory survey with GroupM, it was revealed that agencies saw a 17% lift in ROI (sales) recognised for their clients when contextual targeting was used on YouTube. Context is one of the fundamentals of YouTube advertising that can yield great results even on its own.

The forcefield of brand suitability

Brand safety in YouTube advertising acts as a defence mechanism against content that all advertisers would agree is harmful. Examples of brand safety include hate speech or pro-violence and crime rhetoric. However, this defence mechanism only does this one job and though it does it well, it does not stop wave after wave of irrelevant content slipping through the cracks that add little to no impact to brand messages. Therefore, large proportions of a brand’s investment in YouTube advertising would sit alongside irrelevant content, reducing your ROI.

On the other hand, brand suitability is the all-purpose and full coverage forcefield to ensure maximum reach with no media wastage. Our suitability approach ensures that all ad placements are accurately aligned to ensure quality CPMs (QCPMs). Some clients have even reported up to 30% savings on their campaigns without a reduction in scale Brand suitability takes brand safety to the next level and ensures that you’re targeting the right content and channels and subsequently, the right audience. Think of brand suitability as an evolution of brand safety, the next level, ensuring advertisers are delivering the most efficient and effective campaigns, maximising their Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS). This second fundamental works hand-in-hand with contextual advertising to optimise ROI.

The era of inclusion is upon us

Last, but certainly not least, inclusion lists are the third fundamental element of YouTube advertising that will see your brand reap the full rewards YouTube offers.

Block lists have been part of the advertising tool kit for some time ensuring horrible advertising blunders do not come your way. These lists also protect brands from the content no organisation would like to be associated with: misogyny, racism, violence and much more. However, the content that addresses these topics positively and constructively such as ‘How to tackle racism’ would also be blocked by the blocklist.

At a time when brands must ensure they are socially conscious, actively avoiding this content could damage the authenticity of many brand messages. Instead, inclusion lists such as Channel Factory’s curated LGBTQ+ list in the Netherlands allow brands to have their advertising placed alongside content and creators that tackle these topics. Therefore, allowing for the reinforcement of brand messages and the diversification of a brand’s audience. For example, when the black community sees itself represented in advertising, it leads to drastically higher levels of emotional engagement.

These three fundamentals of YouTube are key to ensuring brands maximise the impact of their YouTube advertising campaign. One can be done without the other, and you will still see improved results. But for the greatest impact, advertisers and brands must seek to combine the three fundamentals.