Matthew Keegan
Oct 18, 2022

YouTube’s VP of advertising on Shorts, brand safety, CTV, and more

Debbie Weinstein speaks exclusively to Campaign Asia-Pacific on why APAC is particularly important to YouTube, trends in CTV, Shorts advertising, shopping, and delivering the best ROI for advertisers.

Debbie Weinstein
Debbie Weinstein

YouTube recently celebrated 15 years in APAC. What started as a lowkey platform where viewers would go to watch videos that maybe their friends uploaded; it’s now a global powerhouse with two billion users that are logging into the service every month around the world.

Many of YouTube's biggest markets are in APAC. In June this year alone, YouTube reached more than 90 million people over the age of 18 across the Philippines and Vietnam. Even in Singapore, which is comparatively small, YouTube reaches over 4 million people a month over the age of 18.

From now until December several countries in APAC are hosting their local YouTube Brandcast event, where advertisers and agencies celebrate YouTube's creator community and get the latest trends, updates and inspiration from brands succeeding on the platform.

As YouTube Brandcast returns to APAC, we speak to Debbie Weinstein, YouTube’s vice president of ads, to discuss the topics that advertisers in the region most want to talk about, including connected TV, ecommerce, Shorts advertising, and delivering ROI.

Can you tell us more about YouTube Shorts and how advertising fits into it?

Shorts actually launched in India. It was our first launch market about a year and a half ago. It's been a really a big success around the world with 1.5 billion monthly active users and 30 billion daily views. But Indonesia and India are two standout markets.

In terms of how advertising fits in, it will be very much about multi-format. We have just announced that Shorts ads are running alongside Shorts in our video action campaigns and in our app campaigns. And we are helping customers get started with vertical video. We have automation tools they can use that will actually reorient a video for them. Or they can obviously upload their own short-form video.

And we are seeing great success actually. Typically, when an advertiser adds a vertical short video they're getting much better conversions at a much lower price: 10-20% more conversions per dollar on YouTube Shorts than campaigns that use landscape assets. But our main focus with advertisers is around helping them to achieve their objective across all the different formats that we have on YouTube. So, while we may over time see some advertisers interested in how they can just be part of the Shorts ecosystem, we're actually encouraging them to think multi-format and to think about all the places they can accomplish their objective across the platform.

And YouTube will share 45% of ad revenue with Shorts creators?

That's correct. Just 10 days ago we announced the introduction of paying out creators on Shorts. So that was big news for us. And I think one of the key differentiators about YouTube has been the fact that creators can come onto the platform, find an audience, but also make a living doing what they love.

The revenue-sharing works slightly differently from how in-stream ads work, because with Shorts you're running in a feed as opposed to being attached to a video. So it's basically like a pool of revenue generated and then it's being distributed based on the views.

YouTube Shorts

Is connected TV big in the APAC region for YouTube?

Connected TV (CTV) is a phenomena in Asia. Every time I'm meeting with the teams in APAC, CTV is hot on the topics of conversations that advertisers want to talk to us about. It's one of the booming areas of the advertising market overall, and one people have a lot of interest in.

It has been a huge driver of growth for YouTube across the past few years. With CTV what we're often seeing is the viewing sessions and the content people are viewing is much longer. So actually, about 65% of the content people view is longer than 21 minutes.

And what are you doing to ensure accurate measurement when it comes to connected TV?

We're excited about our innovation there, we actually launched this year an ability to measure the number of co-viewers there are watching ads on connected TV, not in a specific session, but in general across a campaign. And we are doing that in a number of markets around the world, including in APAC. I would say we are very eager to have third-party partners that are able to measure co-viewing as well. This is a tried and true way that television has been measured for decades.

And unfortunately, the techniques folks are using to measure digital audiences hasn't yet reached the ability to understand co-viewing. And so we are actively working and talking to a number of third parties. Our advertisers tell us every day that this is a top priority for them, they want a third party to validate the data they see from our first party tools. But for now, we're offering sort of a first party way that with Google's technology, we're able to estimate co-viewing.

Are you finding more brands are choosing to advertise with YouTube over traditional TV advertising? And are you going after TV advertisers?

We are looking to help our customers have great impact when they reach audiences. And I would say when we are talking to marketers, our results are the number one thing that we're focused on making sure we're securing for them and we want to deliver results that are better than basically anywhere else.

But what I would say is that we are really focused on trying to help customers understand how they can ensure their effectiveness every single time they run a campaign on YouTube. And so I spend a lot of time talking to customers, for example, around the six drivers of ROI. And I would say ROI has increased in its importance given the economic uncertainty in the world.

Right now folks really want to know how they can be as effective as possible with the money they're going to spend, because they really want to get the ROI. For some, this is not the time for experimenting with things that have never been done before. They want it to be something new and innovative, and the places that audiences are spending time today, but they want to make sure it's effective. So we spend a lot of time and we use marketing mix data (MMM data) a lot to actually tease out those insights and run these meta analyses that identify the key drivers of ROI.

Is shopping a big focus for you to help advertisers with their performance goals?

Shopping is a big area of focus for us. We know that consumers are coming all the time to YouTube to research and discover products. I bought a blow dryer, for example, recently. And one of the first places I went to was YouTube to see someone demonstrating how this blow dryer was going to achieve a certain look. And so that is a classic use case, not the hairdryer, but in general going to YouTube to try to find information, and see products in use.

So we know that's a big consumer behaviour. And we hear from our partners all the time that they really want to understand more about how they can be involved in that ecosystem. And so we just recently announced that product feeds, which is sort of the way that you can have shopping opportunities integrated into ads across Google, their product feeds are integrating across more and more of our services across YouTube. It's on what we call video action campaigns. It's on discovery campaigns, and it's going to be coming to more places over the next few months. So shopping is a big area for us. And helping people through the funnel—through awareness, consideration, direct response–we want to make sure we're helping folks deliver in each of those horizontals.

As well as accurate measurement and ROI, brand safety remains important for marketers. Are you doubling down on this as well?

Responsibility is definitely the number one priority for the entire team at YouTube. We know that we have a responsibility to users, advertisers and creators to make sure that it's the safest place as possible. And so we have techniques that are, at this point, tried and true.

We call them the four R's around responsibility to remove controversial content that violates our community guidelines; we reduce exposure to borderline content; we raise up authoritative voices to make sure that the most accurate facts around something like Covid or elections is the thing that is most prominent. And then we are limiting the ability of creators to monetise until they actually reach a higher bar than just being able to be part of that ecosystem. So we have, I would say, very rigorous processes and a great framework. But honestly it's work that's never done. We have to remain vigilant because there's constant change going on in the internet. And we always have to stay one step ahead of bad actors. And that is a commitment that we definitely have to the entire ecosystem.

Going forward, how important is APAC to YouTube and its advertising goals?

YouTube is indispensable to consumers around the world, but particularly in APAC, honestly, because of the creators. And the creators are the lifeblood of this platform. And we are investing in tools like Shorts and long-form and all the multi-format ways they can be creative. And ultimately, my job is to make sure when we do that, that we are creating opportunities for businesses to achieve their objectives and deliver results for their companies.

Campaign Asia

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