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Youtube Media Connected TV

YouTube is bringing masthead ads to connected TV, its fastest growing medium

By Andrew Blustein, Reporter

September 18, 2019 | 3 min read

Already a fixture across mobile and desktop, YouTube is now making masthead ads globally available within its connected TV (CTV) app.

Ford is one of the first brands to buy into YouTube's CTV mastheads

Ford is one of the first brands to buy into YouTube's CTV mastheads

YouTube is hoping to draw even more ad dollars to its fastest growing medium. Anish Kattukaran, YouTube Ads product lead for emerging experiences, said the company’s CTV app has been the “fastest growing surface across all of YouTube” for the last few years.

The Google-owned video platform is opening up more ad inventory on its CTV app as consumption habits change. While he couldn’t highlight specific numbers, Kattukaran said that session time and average video length are “multiples longer” when compared to mobile or desktop globally.

Kattukaran said this is especially true for live events on YouTube, noting that US viewers are “disproportionately” watching live weekly Major League Baseball games on big screens.

Advertisers can buy masthead ads, premium home-screen placements, as a reserved placement through Google Ads on a CPM-basis – the same way they could buy masthead ads on mobile and desktop.

Kattukaran said YouTube is specifically trying not to change the way it makes masthead ads available in an attempt to balance optimizing the lean back experience of TV for consumers with the established process of transacting online.

“Advertisers have also told us they don't want a brand new set of fragmented offerings where there's increased complexity,” said Kattukaran. “Where they have to buy a separate campaign with a whole bunch of different settings for mobile, and then a separate one for CTV, and that's just the Google ecosystem before they get to other providers.”

Ford is one of a handful of brands that has tested the ad type during YouTube’s two-week beta period.

Advertisers will be able to buy masthead ads across platforms, or just focus the buy on CTV. Advertisers won’t be able to package masthead buys with in-stream video buys, as is also the case on mobile and desktop.

Kattukaran said this a product of advertiser needs, as masthead ads are meant to drive brand awareness while in-stream ads are generally more targeted and audience-based.

YouTube is just the latest platform to emphasize CTV advertising. Amazon is starting to partner with third-parties to sell its Fire TV inventory, while device-maker LG is putting ads in its smart TVs.

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