With the Inauguration media frenzy, many may have missed a major update from Google that could change the way YouTube fits into every marketer’s digital marketing mix. For the first time ever, Google will allow advertisers to use consumer search data for targeting on YouTube. Google is also promising an updated advertiser platform on YouTube for better measurement and reach across multiple devices and screens, while allowing the user to have more control over their ad experience.
Targeting With Google Search Data
This update offers targeting opportunities that should make marketers very excited. For the first time ever, brands will have access to Google’s search data, one of the most important pieces of information used in digital advertising.
The search history and demographic information tied to a user’s Google account will be available to marketers and used to target users on YouTube. By layering search data in the planning of YouTube campaigns, advertisers will be able to tailor messaging depending on a user’s stage in their customer journey.
For example, if a user had recently searched for gym memberships on Google, we could engage with them on YouTube by showing them video ads based on their intent:
- Do they need more information on equipment or specific classes?
- Are they looking for gym offers/promotions?
- Did they search using brand or nonbrand terms?
With this update, marketers now have the opportunity (and responsibility?) to answer these questions through relevant video content.
A Customer Match functionality will also now be available on YouTube. Like Custom Audiences today on Facebook, advertisers will have the ability to upload email lists of their customers, giving them the ability to tailor video ads based on segmented lists.
Measurement + Reporting Without Pixels and Cookies
Google announced that it will be shifting away from relying on cookies and pixels for measuring activity on YouTube. To support their cross-device mentality, Google wants to measure in a way that more accurately reflects the way people consume content on YouTube.
So how will performance be measured without pixels and cookies?
In last week’s announcement, Google says they are revamping and developing an entirely new measurement platform called the Ads Data Hub that will generate performance insights while protecting user privacy and security. Google promises to offer better cross-device insights from YouTube campaigns.
When this solution will become available to advertisers is still unknown. Google is still working with comScore, DoubleVerify, IAS, MOAT, and Nielsen as third-party measurement partners. Collaboration with these MRC-accredited partners should give advertisers the ability to independently measure and verify campaign performance.
What this means for marketers
With these updates, YouTube should be reconsidered in every marketer’s digital media mix. Because brands will be able to leverage search data to determine intent, advertisers can be much more strategic in the delivery of video ads. If these changes come to fruition as Google reports, YouTube could become more than just an awareness driving tactic.
Leveraging the Custom Match function, advertisers will be able to speak to their current customers in a personalized way. YouTube could be used for loyalty programs, delivering promotional advertising to repeat buyers. It could also be used as a nurture tactic to keep current customers engaged with the brand.
However, marketers should be a cautious of Google’s Ads Data Hub. Google seems to be raising their walls, moving away from third-party pixels and cookies. Measuring performance may be difficult at first, but hopefully these updates truly reflect the future of digital—relying more on mobile and people-based marketing, and less on archaic desktop pixels.
Marketers to will need to connect the dots between search, YouTube, and their unique brand if they are to take full advantage of these updates. Establishing a thorough content and measurement strategy will be imperative for planning, executing, and understanding the value YouTube brings in generating customer engagement.