YouTube Debuts Ad Tech at Gen Z-Themed NewFronts Event

YouTube is branding itself to advertisers as the “home of Gen Z.” At the streaming platform’s NewFronts event at parent Google’s Pier 57 complex in lower Manhattan, the message was plastered across numerous signs and in videos. The company had creator Jon Youshaei, a former Instagram product marketer, deliver a presentation entitled “What Matters to Gen-Z” at the Monday event. Apparently Gen Z likes quick hits, making them a natural audience for commercials. At the NewFronts presentation, YouTube explained it is expanding its AI-driven video reach campaigns to include YouTube Shorts.

Conceding that “Gen Z is closely associated with another popular Internet video app, TikTok,” Fortune writes that “YouTube, which is now 17 years old, is a big part of this generation’s lives too,” quoting Youshaei saying, “Gen Z comes to YouTube for the creators, and the authentic connection that they have with them.”

YouTube debuted some new ad features designed to provide brands with “more opportunities to connect” with Gen Z and other audiences across the platform.

“Video reach campaigns use Google AI to serve the best combination of ads, and improve your reach and efficiency,” the company said in a blog post, which noted that in-feed video ads are also getting the video reach treatment. Google AI allows improved reach by combining ad formats such as skippable and non-skippable ads.

“With the update, advertisers can now upload a 60-second vertical video in order to reach engaged viewers,” writes TechCrunch, noting that “previously, brands could only access Shorts inventory via Video action campaigns and App Install campaigns, which the company announced in 2022 during Google Marketing Live.”

In addition, YouTube is introducing the YouTube Select Run of Shorts, which positions ads alongside “only the most popular and relevant videos in viewers’ Short feeds,” says Broadcasting & Cable, adding “it uses the same technology that powers YouTube Select.”

Another new ad feature is something called First Position on Shorts, now in a test phase as part of YouTube Select. “With First Position, when a viewer opens YouTube Shorts and starts watching, the First Position advertiser’s ad is the first one the viewer sees,” Broadcasting & Cable explains.

“This lets you land a strong first impression in a highly immersive environment,” Google VP of U.S. agency & brand solutions Kristen O’Hara said during her presentation.

“The health of the advertising industry is being closely watched by the media companies which depend on ad revenue, as well as by investors seeking clues about the direction of the broader economy,” Fortune reports, citing last week’s quarterly results from Google, Meta, and Microsoft “that showed surprising resilience in ad spending,” but noting that “YouTube’s $6.7 billion in Q1 ad revenue was down 2.6 percent from the year-ago period.”

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