As a Google Premier Partner, Digital Minds were thrilled to be one of 25 independent agencies to be invited to YouTube’s Brandcast this month.

Hosted at the Hordern Pavillion,  the event included speeches from both YouTube creators and Googlers alike as they explained key insights from the platform as well as how YouTube will be changing in the future. 

This started with Mel Silva, Google Australia’s managing director leading with the rather punchy: “YouTube does it all”, as it was revealed how more than 17 million Australians adults in June were reached by the platform. Mel then went on to highlight how within the fragmented landscape of digital media in 2023, YouTube has been able to expand its offering through YouTube shorts (which has seen an 150% growth in views YoY) as well as connected TV with more than 11 million Australians now watching YouTube on their TV.

As a result it is as important as ever for creative to be correct and it was at this point that YouTube revealed their new AI (wouldn’t be a tech launch event without mentioning it somewhere) Demand Gen. This solution allows advertisers to take any video or image asset and turn them into a variety of formats and ad types to help meet the required campaign objective, whether it be awareness or action. This creative AI is underpinned by millions of hours of video analysis across the platform and will allow businesses of all sizes to have access to high quality content, hopefully opening up YouTube to clients who previously would see a lack of creative as a blocker. 

On top of Demand Gen, YouTube revealed 3 new ad types that will be launched over the next 12 months;

  • 30-Second YouTube Selects Non-Skips, unsurprisingly with YouTube’s continued comparison to linear TV they have now launched their own like for like ad type, with the 30 second format only available on connected TV devices.  
  • YouTube Select Shorts Line-Up, with the expansion of YouTube shorts there will now be a new ad type that allows ads to be shown within the users feed, alongside the most popular and trending content in the platform.  
  • YouTube Connected TV Pause Experience, coming in 2024 there will also be new pause ad spots, triggered when a user self pauses their video. This is something BVOD partners have offered for a while with the ad type often including QR codes and interactive options. 

Finally there was a panel session where Lucinda Barlow of Uber and Kathy De Lullo of Cadbury discussed how their marketing strategy has adapted and in some places changed to now prioritse YouTube over other tactics. Cadbury’s, in particular, ran a test to drop TV from their Christmas campaign and instead increased their spend on YouTube, with the results leading to a 13% growth in sales YoY and a 5% growth in their market share. 

As always with these types of events there is an element of Google marking their own homework, as they will of course put their best foot forward in terms of case studies etc. However it was interesting to hear some of the data behind the growth in the platform, especially on TV’s and from anecdotal feedback I would have to agree with the view that YouTube viewership can be compared to linear TV. Through YouTube’s integration with wider Google data it has long before had superior targeting options then other awareness tactics, but given its scale, especially on TV where skipping is less common, it may be a platform worth testing. As a result for brands open to increasing awareness, whilst maintaining control and having access to actionable data points, YouTube would be a great option to add on to the plan before the end of the year.