YouTube Adds Enhanced Contextual Targeting

YouTube’s quest to siphon TV budgets took another couple of steps Wednesday, when the video platform unveiled “advanced contextual targeting” (ACT), as well as the ability to use third-party data to plan and measure YouTube campaigns in a handful of new countries.

ACT now, folks

Advanced contextual targeting is a wholesale upgrade of the existing contextual targeting available on YouTube.

“We’ve always had ways of doing topic targeting,” said Debbie Weinstein, VP of global solutions at YouTube.

YouTube says contextual targeting is complementary to its advanced audience solutions, which lets advertisers know what YouTube watchers are generally interested in, based on what they watch. Contextual informs advertisers what people are doing at a specific moment.

ACT enhances that existing capability, because it makes contextual targeting much more granular.

Whereas standard contextual targeting let advertisers message across travel-related videos, ACT understands the difference between luxury travel and budget travel, or it understands the specific interests within categories such as home and garden or interior design.

ACT is naturally powered by machine learning, which analyzes YouTube videos frame by frame, looking at images, sound, speech and metadata all connected to specific videos. While YouTube already has 300 pre-packaged video lineups matched to specific interests, brands can also work with a YouTube rep to create their own.

Moreover, said Weinstein, the content of those interest-based video lineups is constantly updating and refreshing. She added that brands “will have some sense of who’s in that lineup” and can also use YouTube’s brand suitability controls.

ACT is now live in 10 markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.

YouTube’s TV data goes global, kinda

YouTube is also expanding its use of third-party TV data for planning and measuring to new countries. Third-party TV data in YouTube’s Reach Planner tool, once only for buyers in the United States and Japan, is now available in France, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Vietnam.

In France, YouTube is partnering with Mediametrie; in Sweden, it’s MMS; the main partner in Germany is Gfk; and in Spain and Vietnam, it’s Kantar.

(Quick Reach Planner recap: YouTube intro’ed the tool in early 2018 to help advertisers plan their YouTube and TV buys. YouTube added Nielsen TV data into Reach Planner in the US last November, which showed how distributing spend in different ways across YouTube and linear TV would impact reach.)

Meanwhile, in the ultra-dorky world of measurement, Nielsen’s cross-platform measurement solution Total Ad Ratings (not to be confused with Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings) can now measure YouTube in the United Kingdom and Italy. While Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings could measure YouTube, Total Ad Ratings can measure YouTube alongside linear TV.