YouTube is now the most-watched living-room digital video platform in the US after Netflix, according to Nielsen.

So why aren’t advertisers taking it more seriously when it comes to developing a connected TV advertising plan?

In this video interview with Beet.TV, media agency Essence’s Mike Fisher explains the value of YouTube.

Shifting viewing

“Within the last couple of years, we found YouTube really becoming one of the largest sources of ad-supported streaming happening on the TV screen,” Fisher observes.

“Historically, a lot of marketers did not look towards YouTube as that true TV replacement. People are still going to watch Saturday Night Live content – they’re just watching it in a way that fits their viewing habits; that includes now going to YouTube the next day, watching three or four Saturday Night Live clips.

“A lot of people are at home during the pandemic and that younger viewership who grew up on YouTube is starting to age out of living at home and going out on their own.

“We’re really starting to see a rise in YouTube as a viable alternative to other streaming happening on that TV screen, which has really led to a rise of the need to find a combination of premium television content, coupled with premium television audiences inside of that YouTube environment, and really make a case to our clients on why they need to consider that television.”

YouTube’s growth

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, according to forecasts.

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

In Q1, YouTube brought in $6 billion in ad revenue for the period, up 49% year-on-year, putting YouTube on course to beat Netflix in annual earnings.

In March, YouTube’s chief product officer reported:

“Our fastest growing viewing experience is on the TV screen. Last December, over 120 million people in the U.S. streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens.

And there’s another interesting viewing behavior emerging. A new generation of viewers chooses to watch YouTube primarily on the TV screen: Also in December, over a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the U.S. watched content almost exclusively on the TV screen.”

Context for safety

But Essence’s Fisher wants to ensure connected TV providers like YouTube can offer ad buyers adequate control over ad placement.

“We want to make that ad messaging doesn’t collide,” he says. “If you have humorous ad messaging, we want to certainly make sure that it’s not paired with anything that’s not brand safe or not on target.

“You don’t want to come out of something very serious with a very funny message. It impacts both the content and the ad message in those cases.

“So we’re really starting to think more about how we can use contextual signals, how we can couple audience plus context to really tell a better story.”

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.