As the number one video sharing platform on the planet, YouTube is an excellent place for businesses to run ads. However, one of the challenges that advertisers face is making sure their ads get seen by the right audience on YouTube. Rather than targeting videos, it’s easier to place ads directly on the YouTube home page that users see when they visit the site or use the app. Some small business owners have avoided this option in the past for cost reasons. Google recently announced a test that could make it easier for advertisers to get their ads shown on the YouTube Masthead.
YouTube Masthead is a video ad format that appears at the top of the YouTube Home feed on mobile apps and desktop computers. YouTube users are relying on the content they see on the Home feed more and more, which makes it an excellent place for ads. According to Google, over the past three years, the amount of time spent watching content that was discovered on the Home feed has increased tenfold.
With the YouTube Home feed ad space being so valuable, YouTube used to reserve it for specific clients. In the past, the Masthead ad was booked for one advertiser per country on a cost-per-day (CPD) basis. As one would imagine, the competition was fierce and the cost per day could get pretty high. This tactic all but blocked off Masthead ads except for to the largest advertisers. In the recently announced experiment, Google is hoping to expand the number of advertisers who get a chance to use YouTube Masthead ads.
During these Beta test, advertisers will be to “purchase the Masthead on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis and customize the audiences they want to see it.” This system has several improvements over the original method. It allows more people to use the ad space and provides more relevant ads to YouTube users. Showing ads to everyone in a country on the YouTube home feed automatically meant that a lot of people who weren’t in the target audience would see the ad. Adding audience targeting can make Masthead ads more effective at delivering results. Brands will be able to ensure that the ads are shown during a target window as the placements are still a reserved buy. This means that there the number of ad impressions are guaranteed for the campaign, for ranges from a single day and up to seven days.
TurboTax has used the YouTube Masthead for on the day following their Super Bowl ad to extend the effectiveness of their advertising blitz. The company stated that the Masthead ad was a significant factor in improving the results of the campaign.
“The YouTube Masthead is a key lever in our end-to-end Super Bowl strategy this year given the massive scale, timing, and relevance. The Masthead is a great way to introduce the new way of doing taxes with TurboTax Live, now with Certified Public Accountants and IRS-licensed Enrolled Agents on demand. It’s very timely and relevant to be front and center on YouTube, the biggest online video platform, on the day after the Super Bowl, the biggest day in both football and advertising,” said Cathleen Ryan, VP Marketing at TurboTax.
Because the Masthead format is a little different from traditional video ads on YouTube, the platform has an online tool that can help advertisers see how their video would look as part of a Masthead ad. This system also gives advertisers a chance to play with the customization options, such as changing the ad title, video description, and the text of the call-to-action button that will appear next to the video.
It’s likely that this Beta will lead to permanent changes to the way Google fills the Masthead space on YouTube. However, at this stage, you will still need to speak to your Google Ad representative if you would like to be included in the beta.
For more recent news about changes to Google and YouTube, read this article on a recent test on YouTube involved ad pods with multiple ads at the beginning of videos.