YouTube Getting More Targeted Ads Based On Searches, Views

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In Short: Taking the stage at New York’s Advertising Week event, Google announced that advertisers on YouTube would now have more options in targeting users based on current and recent searches and video views on the site. Extensions for TrueView ads that give access to location and forms are already live, and more are coming in the near future. The new tool set was announced alongside ad analytics, to be provided by third-party data company IRI. This is an expansion of Google’s existing Brand Lift tool set, which will also now include the ability to check out how many people your ad is influencing, or your Lifted Users, and the average Cost Per Lifted User.

Background: YouTube has long been one of the pillars of Google’s advertising empire. This move, like many others in the past, seeks to expand advertisers’ knowledge of user activity in a meaningful, actionable way without exposing any more personal detail than is absolutely necessary. Google has been putting out a range of extensions that can tie into ads for a while now, and points to Vodafone seeing roughly 785% improvements in click-through rate and ad recall.

Impact: Advertisers will now be able to target users based on their searches and views on YouTube, presumably across all Google services.YouTube is unique in that its advertising data set is currently separate from the one used across many other Google services, such as Search and Maps, but Google may well unify its advertising data sources and advertiser tool kits in the future. Users can expect to begin seeing far less personally irrelevant ads, and many more based on things they search for on YouTube. Additionally, since advertisers will now have access to ad analytics on the platform, users will likely see less repetitive ads, and will see ads changing more often as brands pull analytics information gathered by IRI and use it to tweak their ads on the service. On the privacy side of things, this move means that all advertisers will be able to build user profiles based not only on what is viewed and for how long, but also what is searched for on YouTube and what’s currently being viewed at the time an ad is to be served. Additionally, it has the obvious implication that IRI, a third-party service, will now have user data on hand, which increases the chances of a breach.