Leveraging YouTube’s New Audience Targeting Capabilities
With a steady hold on 63% of the market, Google has a wealth of information on its users. It is now leveraging search history data from both Google Search and Google Maps to refine media targeting within YouTube.
YouTube’s audience targeting update will feed new data points of search and maps history into its algorithms to better classify users into existing affinity and in-market audience segments, as well as new segments such as life events and consumer audiences. As a result, advertisers will have increased cross-device insights into their customers’ search histories and can better target them with more relevant content.
What Does This Update Mean for Marketers?
YouTube’s update could potentially allow advertisers an increased perspective into consumer behavior and help YouTube distinguish its targeting capabilities from broad-reach TV commercials. Unlike TV, YouTube provides advertisers an opportunity to differentiate ad serving strategies to reach users with relevant content at appropriate points in the customer journey.
The new targeting data can now influence the following audiences to reach the most appropriate viewers:
An affinity audience is a group of customers who have indicated they favor specific brands, TV shows, and other topics. This segmentation allows Google to connect those customers with related content based on their interests.
The new data refinement will allow companies to target based on search and browsing tendencies. For instance, a running shoe retailer could specifically target marathon runners with its YouTube ads, instead of casting ads to a broad audience that might not react as strongly.
In-market audience segments are those customers who are actively browsing, researching, or making searches related to a specific product. These clients tend to be further down in the funnel, actively shopping and ready to make a purchase.
The update allows an even more narrow focus for advertisers to reach these customers. For example, a car company that advertises on YouTube could target individuals who have actively done a Google search for a new car or who have used Google Maps to search for a specific dealership. Since these customers are already seeking information on new cars, the chances are high that they will engage with the ad.
Life Events and Consumer Audiences
Advertisers can also target customers based on life events, such as getting married or expecting a baby, which will then be layered on top of YouTube's existing targeting to better address individuals who are in the market for specific products. Consumer audience segments (such as customers who frequently shop at big box retailers like Costco and Walmart) can also impact YouTube targeting.
It’s important to note that users must be signed into their Google accounts for search data to be integrated into their user profiles, but data is aggregated and used across devices.
How to Leverage New Targeting Capabilities
Brands currently running YouTube campaigns should take advantage of additional data that influences different audience segments by testing against existing segments that have proven successful. Additionally, YouTube consistently rolls out new ad formats beyond classic pre-roll ads. This gives brands the opportunity to test targeting users at different points in their consumer journeys with new YouTube ad formats, which can ultimately help increase branding and drive users closer to conversion.
For those not yet running ads on YouTube, this update offers increased refinement in audience targeting and enhanced cross-device targeting, making it more possible than ever to reach potential customers with the right ad at the right time.
If you are a current YouTube advertiser or interested in advertising on YouTube, reach out to our team for more information on the audience targeting update.