YouTube’s Continued Land Grab for TV Dollars: YouTube Select

YouTube is continuing its efforts to expand its advertising platform in an effort to compete with traditional television.

This week, they announced a revamped advertising option called YouTube Select. It will replace the Google Preferred program, their upfront offering, which launched in 2014.

What Was Google Preferred?

Google Preferred was their “upfront” offering, meaning it worked like traditional television buys. Upfronts are the norm for seasonal TV ad buying, where advertisers meet a minimum annual spend commitment and could lock in ad inventory.

It was available only to the US and Canada, and let brands directly place ads to vetted, brand safe, top tier content on YouTube’s platform.

Google Preferred will be phased out by the end of 2020.

How YouTube Select Changes the Program

Unlike Google Preferred, YouTube select will be available worldwide.

The targeting also introduces a mix of content called “emerging lineups.” Lineups already existed to address different content categories, such as sports and beauty.

Emerging lineups will open up the opportunity for advertisers to show ads on up and coming channels, or ones that are more niche.

YouTube Select will also give options for customized packages for things like YouTube kids and YouTube Originals.

The Shift to TV

With the consumption acceleration of watchers watching at home versus on the go, the TV screen has become even more valuable real estate for YouTube.

They have made moves in the past few months signaling their seriousness to compete in that arena, including extending brand lift measurement to advertisers for TV screens, and skippable ad formats.

A dedicated TV streaming lineup will also be part of YouTube Select’s offering, for both YouTube Originals and other content categories.

The Brand Safety Question

YouTube has struggled in the past with reassurance of quality content. It’s had to walk a fine line of being a hub for creators while installing brand safety that advertisers can rely on in order to keep both parties happy on the platform.

“With YouTube Select, you can be confident that your ad buys are brand-safe. You’ll have access to advanced brand suitability controls, as well as the option to only serve ads on videos that have been machine classified and human-verified across all lineups (lineup/market dependent).” – Vishal Sharma, VP Product Management at YouTube

YouTube uses a “P Score” to decide which shows made the cut for Google Preferred. This criteria evaluated the passion and popularity of its audience (hence the name P Score), along with protection.

Last year they also added criteria for platform and production, which evaluates TV screen watch time of content and also production value of the videos.

YouTube Select Targeting

YouTube Select will give advertisers the ability to exclude specific shows, either because they don’t want to be associated with them, or because they have already bought against them in their traditional TV buys.

Advertisers will also have robust targeting options backed by Nielsen, going beyond simple TV demographics of age and gender.

You can read visit the official page on YouTube Select here, with their official announcement here.