Once upon a time, it was derided as the platform for skateboarding dog videos.

But now YouTube is the number-two streaming media platform on TVs and amongst the largest beneficiaries of connected TV advertising spend.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Pixability advisor and former Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman charts YouTube’s rise – and why it is so important to marketers today.

The small acorn

Weisman, who was also CEO for DigitasLBi in North America, reminisces about early YouTube NewFront presentations, when the platform was simultaneously education ad buyers and trying to win their spending commitments.

“Nobody even thought about having YouTube as part of it,” Weisman recalls. “The next thing you know, it became sort of the tent pole of NewFront week.”

Still, it nevertheless took buyers a little time to understand YouTube’s unique proposition.

“We met these creators who most of us had never heard of,” Weisman says. “And then we’d go outside, and there were literally thousands of largely teens waiting outside because word had spread that had creator they loved was there.

“It was an ‘a-ha’ moment for me that these creators were going to be able to command huge audiences and, as a result, massive advertising budgets. And that they had tapped into an audience that most of us were seeking for one reason or another but weren’t aware of how to reach.”

CTV gargantuan

That’s all changed now, of course.

Nielsen Streaming Meter says, of the 25% of TV time spent with streaming video, 20% goes to YouTube, making it the second-most-watched digital video platform after Netflix.

Accordingly, YouTube’s CTV ad revenue is growing fast. YouTube is up there with Roku but behind Hulu for taking CTV ad dollars.

US Connected TV Ad Spending, by Company, 2019-2022 (billions)

YouTube is critical

“YouTube in particular that has gone from being interesting to big, to critical,” Weisman says. “YouTube is a critical component of every media buyer’s buy right now.

“They’ve made enormous strides in searchability and safety in reliability. They’ve done really, really smart things to build the brand and the offerings. It’s no longer a question about whether or not you’re going to invest in YouTube, but are you going to do it smartly?

“Or are you going to do it with somebody who can, you know, who can really make sure that that investment is wise or are you just going to take your chances. And I would not advise anyone to just take their chances.”

You are watching “Driving Reach and Results on Connected TV,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Pixability. For more videos, please visit this page.