YouTube Creates New Ad Category to Reach Light TV Viewers

YouTube is luring advertisers away from TV, stating that connected TVs are the fastest growing category, with an audience of cord cutters and so-called light TV viewers. Its own YouTube TV, launched last year as a skinny bundle paid TV service, is now being viewed not just on mobile screens but on TV screens. In fact although half of all YouTube videos are watched on mobile devices, 150 million hours daily are watched on TVs, a 50 percent jump in the last six months. YouTube TV now reaches 85 percent of U.S. TV households.

Variety reports that, “one year ago, total viewing on YouTube was around 1 billion hours per day,” although Google “declined to provide an updated figure.” “We are seeing more YouTube being watched on TV screens, and more TV content being watched on YouTube – it’s the ultimate convergence of video,” said YouTube/video global solutions managing director Debbie Weinstein. “Advertisers are saying, ‘What are you building for me to reach YouTube viewers on TV?’”


YouTube is responding, with a plan to debut “a new audience segment in AdWords” for light TV viewers, who “watch most of their TV and video content online – and are much less likely to subscribe to pay TV.” The category, which will “span ads across all device platforms,” is comprised of viewers that have been difficult for advertisers to reach although, according to Nielsen, they comprise 50 percent of U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 49 in the U.S. Weinstein says 90 percent of this group watch YouTube videos.

Advertisers will also soon be able to reach audiences on TV screens via AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager through Google Preferred. Beginning in Q4 2018, “inventory on some U.S. cable networks on YouTube TV will be available as an extension to Google Preferred, the premium ad program for the top 5 percent most popular YouTube channels.”

According to Weinstein, “YouTube TV ads bought through Google Preferred will be dynamically inserted, letting advertisers target ads based on demographic profiles rather than just showing everyone the same ad as with the majority of traditional TV buys.”

YouTube’s metrics show that Google Preferred ads reach 43 percent of millennial cord-cutters, and 44 percent of light TV viewers. YouTube is also “working with third-party partners like Integral Ad Science (IAS) and OpenSlate to develop post-campaign verification reporting for Google Preferred buys.” The company will reveal more details of the new ad offerings at the 2018 Digital Content NewFronts in New York City.

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