YouTube Announces Improved Audience Targeting and New Ad Measurement Solution

YouTube made several announcements Friday, all of which are intended to support advertisers and YouTube’s advertising capabilities in a mobile-first, multi-device world. 

Improvements to Audience Targeting

The most immediate update to impact advertisers is that Google is now allowing information from users’ activity that’s associated with their Google account (e.g. previous search behaviour, demographic information, etc.) to influence the ads users see on YouTube. So, per the example given by YouTube, retailers could now reach potential customers that have been searching for winter clothing on Google, and engage with them through their winter clothing brand campaigns on YouTube.

YouTube is also creating new ways advertisers can reach users through advertisers own lead or customer data using Customer Match, allowing advertisers, for example, to specifically reach their highest value customers, or users who have subscribed to their email list.

Updating user control across devices

Along with the above-mentioned updates, Google and YouTube will continue to provide controls in users’ My Account, to ensure they maintain control over the ads they see in Google and YouTube. In addition, Google will be rolling out a new feature in the coming weeks to further support user ad control across screens. Once introduced, users who mute advertisers’ ads on Google Search will also have that advertiser’s ads muted when watching on YouTube as well.

Reducing reliance on cookies and pixels

Coinciding with these changes, YouTube will begin reducing their reliance on web pixels and cookies this year in favour of a transition to mobile identifiers and sign-in User IDs. While cookies and pixels will continue to have a role in YouTube’s tracking ecosystem, Google’s rationale for the transition is due to the limitations of cookies and pixels when tracking across devices, and the inconsistent measurements and user control that result.

New Insights and Reporting Capabilities

Lastly, YouTube teased advertisers, announcing a new "cutting-edge", cloud-based measurement solution that will be introduced over the next year.

Per YouTube, the tool will be "cutting-edge" in both generating advertiser insights, as well as protecting security and privacy across Google and YouTube. The solution should also provide advertisers access to more detailed cross-device information, allowing advertisers to better understand YouTube ads influence and impact against specific audiences.

YouTube’s also advised that collaborations with MRC accredited vendors while they build out the tool will enable advertisers and agencies to continue to independently measure and audit their campaign performance through 3rd party tools such as comScore, IAS, Moat and Nielson.

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