Bath-based digital advertising agency SearchStar hosted its final installment of ADFUTURES’, a series of inspiring, actionable morning talks about the future of advertising for those creating it. Speakers from giants Amazon and Facebook shared their insights and developments at the two previous sessions.

PerformanceIN went along to Watershed in Bristol for the last session of the series for an insightful discussion on the state of YouTube Advertising.

First up, Ryan Webb, conversions and analytics director at SearchStar highlighted that faster download speeds, higher quality videos combined with accessing content quickly and consuming more content on mobile devices are some of the key factors driving the growth of video consumption generally. For example, in 2010, we were consuming 2 billion videos daily, whereas now, that number has reached 5 billion.

He went on to explain that YouTube has become a creative channel for high-quality video, not just for highly shareable, viral content we used to see. With more content and options than ever before, a key challenge advertisers continue to face is capturing users’ attention.

Changing consumer behaviour

Kelsey Bowers, YouTube specialist at Google, kicked off the session talking about disruptive video from a media planning point of view and the change in consumer behaviour. As we all know, consumer behaviours have changed dramatically from the days of viewing videos on desktop and TV. Fast-forward to today and there are multi-platforms, with 1.9 billion monthly logged-in viewers spending on average one hour per day on their mobile device watching YouTube videos alone.

Leading with a staggering statistic from Cisco stating that globally, digital video will make up 82% of all consumer traffic by 2021, Bowers warned that if advertisers want to continue to succeed in business online, they need to make sure they’re matching where their users are.

Driving intent into action

Online advertisers traditionally focus on reach and brand awareness, but YouTube is shifting its focus to return on investment, which is where YouTube TrueView for Action direct response video ad format comes in.

In her session, Bowers said that advertisers should focus on reaching people based on intent, and then turning that into action. Thankfully, advertisers can now reach their audience based on their intent, tailor their creative, and target and capture the intent in real-time from Google search.

Bowers mentioned two audience solutions to help find your audience through intent; the first being Custom Intent Audiences, where you can reach audiences on YouTube who has recently searched your keyword on Google. The second solution she touched on was Consumer Patterns Audiences, which allows advertisers to target someone based on what they are doing offline. There are more solutions but the point is they each help drive greater conversion rates.

TrueView to Action ad formats gives viewers a way to take action, such as including a customisable CTA button at the end of a video so users can click and go straight to your website. The full value of TrueView for Action includes conversions from video, conversions from search and brand impact in addition to store visits.

Lastly, according to a Neilsen study, the creative makes up for 50%-80% of the success of a campaign. Bowers highlighted a YouTube support tool that allows production partners to create a video for brands if time is precious and you need a little help on the creative side.  


Up next was Rebecca MacDonald, music publishing partnerships manager at YouTube, who spoke about content growth on YouTube and the new reach opportunity it offers advertisers. She was proud to say that 95% of ads on YouTube are viewable, and 95% are watched with the sound on, as opposed to many other platforms where the figure is just 15%, meaning there are a whole plethora of options available for advertisers to get their message across.

MacDonald also pointed out that TV watch time declined by 11% between 2010-2015, whilst YouTube watch time doubled in this period. However, the shift in changing consumer habits presents new challenges for advertisers: keeping user’s attention as people are often splitting their attention between multiple devices at the same time, known as screen-stacking.

With this in mind, advertisers need to have an open mind. For example, Famebit can match YouTube creators with brands, which is proving popular as brands are beginning to turn to up-and-coming talent that then becomes brand ambassadors.

SearchStar rounded off the session with an overview of a case study that achieved successful outcomes thanks to utilising YouTube in its marketing mix. The relevancy across age groups and TV watching trends were also discussed but it was clear from the session that YouTube is still at the top of its game and is only going to develop further to offer more solutions for advertisers.

Last month, PerformanceIN attended the ADFUTURES’ 19 Facebook session, which highlighted the future of advertising on the social platform, which you can catch here.