While consumption of video content on connected devices is rising, the traditional TV set still reigns supreme in terms of attention. This is also increasingly true of digital video platforms - earlier this year, Netflix reported that 70% of its viewing happens on TV sets, while YouTube says that watch time of its content on TV sets has doubled year-over-year.
The rise in on TV viewing of digital content opens up new opportunities - as consumption of digital, TV-like content increases, digital platforms have an opportunity to provide real alternatives for traditional TV ads, with better targeting, lower cost, and likely, improved performance.
That's where YouTube is headed with this new update - YouTube has this week announced that 'TV screens' has been added as a device type in YouTube ad targeting, meaning that advertisers can now specifically target users consuming YouTube content on their home TV sets.
As explained by YouTube:
"Today we’re launching the TV screens device type to make it easy for you to find engaged, valuable audiences while they are watching YouTube on that original device purpose-built for watching video: the TV. The TV screens device type joins computers, mobile phones and tablets in Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and Display & Video 360 (formerly DBM), meaning you can tailor your campaigns for connected TVs – for example, by using a different creative or setting a specific device bid adjustment. You can also see reporting for ads that run on TV screens to help you determine the impact of these ads within your overall mix."
Really, this is the next stage for online video, shifting into the traditional TV space, and taking a cut of the projected $70 billion in ad spend that will go to TV ads in the US alone. And as more consumers look to digital alternatives to meet their entertainment desires, the platforms will be able to justify further expenditure in original content, which will see even more users switching across, further merging online and offline behaviors.
Providing TV ads has long been the aim, and while YouTube's new addition doesn't necessarily change much in a broader sense (YouTube ads were still served to TV viewers), it is significant in that it moves towards that next stage of specific TV targeting.
And it's effective too:
"We’ve already seen that people react positively to ads on the TV screen – based on Ipsos Lab Experiments, YouTube ads shown on TV drove a significant lift in ad recall and purchase intent, with an average lift of 47% and 35%respectively."
It may not seem like a big deal now, but this will become more important moving forward. The capacity to target TV viewers will make TV-like ads available to many more businesses, which will help improve brand awareness.
It's not the shift, but its another pointer to the next stage of digital marketing evolution - soon, TV ads, the most responsive, expensive, ad type, will be fully integrated into the digital marketing process.