We need to talk about YouTube…

How marketers can connect YouTube insights to their wider strategy

On the face of it, YouTube ought to be a marketer’s dream. It’s the largest video publisher in the world across all of in-stream, native, and video formats. It’s the most rewarding channel when it comes to unique user reach. And it’s the very definition of digital-first.

So, what’s the problem? Well, as we show in our new ebook Getting the most out of YouTube, marketers face many of the same challenges on YouTube as they do on linear TV. Namely, the level of insights isn’t enough to do the smart planning, the mid-campaign optimizations and the precise measurement we expect in the programmatic age.

The YouTube challenge

There are four main problems with advertising on YouTube.

  • Lack of insights 

YouTube is owned by Google, and that means the only way to buy inventory programmatically on the site is through Google’s self-serve advertising platforms (Google Ads or DV360). It is, in essence, a walled garden, and like other walled garden advertising – Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and so on – brands get what they’re given in terms of insights. That means it’s hard to dig into the detail about where exactly their ads are running. 

  • Which means potential for wasted media spend 

Unless you have solid insights into both the kind of people you want to reach and the channels and videos where they’re most likely to be engaging, you’re almost guaranteed to be wasting budget on the wrong people and the wrong places. 

  • And it’s tough to be brand safe

Pretty simple: if you don’t have insights into which content your ads are being shown alongside, there’s not much you can do to mitigate brand safety concerns. 

  • And lastly, you can’t optimize in real-time

The way DV360 provides insights is largely via static post-campaign reports. That means even if you had the insights to solve the challenges of wastage and brand safety outlined above, you wouldn’t be able to use them on a campaign while it was happening. 

How to get more from YouTube

The good news is that there is a way to get a far greater level of insights from YouTube – to get more bang for your buck within the platform and to connect those insights to your wider strategy. 

The solution comes in the form of the YouTube API, an incredible and vast source of data on all the content uploaded to the platform that, if analyzed correctly, can be used to get far deeper insights – and more quickly – than those provided by DV360. 

By connecting to the YouTube API, you get granular data on the channels and videos where your ads are displaying, meaning you can look for trends and optimise towards the best performing keywords, video descriptions, or even make mid-campaign decisions based on things like video length, recency of upload or the popularity of videos. 

To find out more about how it works in practice and what steps you need to take to make the most of your YouTube investments, have a read of our short ebook Getting the most out of YouTube now.