In a recent cover story, NewMediaAge shows that selected partners such as FHM, NME and Kerrang! are now able to sell ads around their own content on YouTube. A logical move by Google and good news for partner channel owners. Effectively, it extends media owners reach beyond their own site and fits with the strategy to “think distributed”. However, for somewhat different reasons, YouTube brand channel owners need a similar feature.
According to the NewMediaAge article, commercial broadcaster ITV lost an estimated £1.3m in ad revenues because no ad deal was in place for the popular Britain’s Got Talent content. Susan Boyle’s performance generated more than 85 million video views on YouTube (more than 70 million on this video alone, for which embedding has been disabled!?).
In the regular partnership agreement, Google is responsible for ad sales and media owners get a share of the revenues (typically 50-60%). Since these media owners know their content best, they are ideally positioned to sell such positions. One can imagine that referring clients to Google for buying such inventory is not preferred.
Many media owners use YouTube to either syndicate their content (in full or in part) or use it as a video platform to host and subsequently embed content from YouTube on their own site. With syndication, YouTube may simply enlarge ad inventory: “We sell out of our video-on-demand space so this would be additional space to sell,” an ITV source was quoted on NewMediaAge. With embedded content, having control over who advertises around the content increases overall value of advertising packages, which then includes in-video or pre-roll. Moreover, it extends reach as videos are both featured on YouTube and embedded on the media site.
The missing link
For somewhat different reasons, advertisers that own and operate a brand channel on YouTube, want control over their videos as well. Driving traffic towards selected sites is what is missing in the brand channel proposition today. In my recent post with 7 tips for better business on YouTube, the number two suggested improvement is the use of YouTube as a conversion tool.
Most advertisers I talk to ask how much traffic YouTube will generate back towards their own site. Unfortunately, the only way to do this today is to include a back-link in the video description. Google requires brand channel owners to invest in media spend to drive traffic towards the brand channel and its content – on YouTube. Advertisers can use the available inventory on partner channels and other sites within the Google content network to purchase display, in-video and – in some markets – pre-roll. But once you have the attention of your audience on your own brand channel videos, you cannot instantly drive traffic back to the brand site from the video itself. Exclusive use of in-video advertising on your own content would be a desired feature. Advertisers should be enabled to use part of their required media investment to purchase such positions at Google’s ratecard prices (instead of AdWords, since there is no one to bid against).
Other than perhaps some technical and administrative hurdles, I cannot imagine why Google would not offer such features to brand channel owners. It clearly adds value to the brand channel proposition, while it also helps Google to more effectively monetize YouTube.
Agree or disagree? Please comment.