Matt Sutton
Sep 14, 2016

APAC needs to catch up with the world on YouTube advertising

Adknowledge Asia's Matt Sutton looks at why advertisers in Asia should move toward more premium video content.

Matt Sutton
Matt Sutton

Second to Google, YouTube is one the most powerful search engines in the world.

As the undisputed king of personal entertainment platforms, YouTube is now a textbook, public forum, how-to guide, and most recently, the biggest opportunity to build a long-term relationship between brand and customer. As APAC’s mobile video advertising space gets louder, healthy scalable growth is overtaking quick conversions as a key business goal for brands.

Like most healthy relationships, the interest of the two sides need alignment.

The question is no longer whether brands should advertise on YouTube, but the quality of content they’re placing their ads against. With such diverse videos available, YouTube offers the perfect ecosystem to engage a highly targeted audience at the right time.

In a study from 2014, 56 percent of viewers skipped online video ads. To reduce the risk of wasted ads, budgets should be spent on ad placement, juxtaposing them with highly relevant video content creating a ‘brand halo effect’. The beauty of a YouTube audience is that the viewer has already actively searched for that specific piece of content. This might mean placement next to fewer videos, but higher quality will lift brand recall.

In Asia however, the shift towards a premium video environment is slow-moving.

Maximising the return

In the US, advertisers are already very conscientious about where brands are being placed. Media buyers are willing to pay more for YouTube programmes that interest their customers. It’s the way media buyers used to purchase prime slots on television, but better and more targeted.

Besides the obvious differences, third-party digital advertising partners can offer brand-safe content and curate campaigns by selecting exactly what they want their ads featured against. Instead of buying spots in premium products like YouTube channels, the right advertising partners can create custom channels for advertisers to ensure a highly contextual environment for brands.

APAC is less developed from a targeting standpoint, as agencies are still finding the balance between low-cost reach and high-quality content. In order to really move the needle on ROI, agencies need to move away from pushing low-cost videos, which can position ads against potentially negative, inappropriate video content. Instead, they should be educating brands about the importance of premium.

Shifting the paradigm

During AdParlor roadshows, people have asked us questions like ‘What’s the lowest cost product I can get on YouTube?’ That’s actually not what agencies should be looking for. Instead, the right context allows campaigns to scale while attracting people who might actually need your product.

Basic YouTube AdWord tools are effective, but when buying only keywords and clicks, there’s less of a filter on the quality. For example, a TripAdvisor ad could be played alongside a airplane crash video compilation, because of the pairing of keywords flight + holiday + destination. Protecting your brand with precision targeting will cost less in the long run.

By looking at the campaign as a whole, brands can be with the customer every step of their purchasing journey.

New take on old models

The conversation about getting the cheapest content needs to be disrupted.

Instead of saying, ‘I’ll give you US$100,000 of my TV budget, and if you could get me seven cents per view of my YouTube channel’ we want to move the dialogue  to ‘I’ll give you US$100,000 of my TV budget if you can enable me to buy whole programmes like TV.’

The rest of the world is already there, and Asia needs to head in that direction.

Unlike display, YouTube advertising offers the opportunity to invite viewers into their community, and with the ability to skip ads, interest is easier to monitor. If selection narrows down to only highly appropriate, highly relevant, and highly brand safe - then demand might drop making  prices cheaper in the long run.

The sweet spot for brands is finding an ad partner that helps to bring a healthy balance between low-cost reach with high-quality, relevant content.

Matt Sutton is the CEO of Adknowledge Asia

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